CORONER'S INQUISITION, 1967-1980
Book 6
NEWBERRY COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA
Transcribed and contributed by Edith Greisser

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at Newberry County Courthouse, New­berry, in the County and State aforesaid, the 28th day of August A. D., one thousand nine hundred and seventy, before GEORGE R. SUMMER, Coroner, upon view of the body of Joe Heyward Williams, Jr., then and there being dead by the oaths of Wyatt Moates, Marvin C. Eaves, Wayne Lathrop, Raymond Ruff, Larry R. Minick and Larry D. Wessinger, being a lawful jury of in­quest who being charged and sworn to inquire, for the State of South Caro­lina where and by what means the said Joe Heyward Williams, Jr. came to his death, upon their oaths, do say Joe Heyward Williams, Jr. came to his death as the result of an unavoidable car or truck accident. And so the said jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say, that the aforesaid Joe Heyward Williams, Jr. came to his' death as the re­sult of an unavoidable car or truck accident. We recommend that no one be held.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I, GEORGE R. SUMNER, Coroner aforesaid, the jurors aforesaid, to this inquisition, have set our hands and seals, the day and year aforesaid.

/s/ George R. Summer, Coroner (L.S.)

/s/ Wyatt Moates, Foreman (L.S.)

/s/ Marvin C. Eaves (L.S.)

/s/ Wayne Lathrop (L.S.)                                           /s/ Larry R. Minick (L.S.)

 /s/ Raymond Ruff (L.S.)                                            /s/ Larry D. Wessinger (L.S.)

PROCEEDINGS

CORONER SUMMER: Will the foreman of the jury stand and be sworn? (Whereupon, the foreman of the Jury, and members of the Jury, were duly sworn.)

CORONER SUMMER: Mr. Foreman and Gentlemen of the Jury, this is an inquisition into the death of Joe Heyward Williams, Jr. It is your duty now to listen to the testimony, which we have to offer, and from this tes­timony you will arrive at how Joe Heyward Williams, Jr., came to his death. If you find that someone else is responsible for his death, you may recommend that they be held for Grand Jury investigation.

Mrs. Patricia D. Griffin?

MR. EUGENE C. GRIFFITH (Attorney): I am representing Mrs. Griffin and her husband. I would like to state to the Court at this time that we have two civil cases pending. One has already been filed and one is about to be filed and for that reason, we have decided that it would be in her best interest not to testify at this inquisition. The same thing is true as to her husband. We don't want any testimony heard on record involving this case at this time because of the civil actions that are pending. I might say that one action, she has brought against someone else and one action is about to be brought against her. It involves liability insurance coverage and other things, and for those reasons, we do not want her to testify, nor do we want her husband to testify tonight.

CORONER SUMMER: At an inquisition, Mr. Foreman and Gentlemen of the Jury, this is permissible for them not to testify.

Mr. D. C. Devore, would you come around, please?

DONALD CARROLL DEVORE, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

BY CORONER SUMMER:

Q.    What is your full name, sir?

A.    Donald Carroll DeVore, sir.

Q.    Mr. DeVore, what position do you hold?

A.    I’m a patrolman with the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

Q.    Did you get a call to investigate an accident out from Pomaria on August 9th of this year, sir?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    Just in your own words, just go ahead and tell these gentlemen just what your investigation was.

A.    On the 9th of August of this year, while I was on routine patrol, I was called to a wreck involving a pick-up truck

        and a pedestrian, approximately two miles behind Bonner's Skating Rink on Secondary 351 in Newberry County.

When I arrived on the scene, it was a cloudy day. It was not raining at the time but the road was still practically wet. When I got to the scene of the accident, I noticed this pickup truck in the road stopped and it was a body laying on the side of the road. other officers were at the scene and ambulance personnel and I went to the body when I first got there and got the information that the body was the deceased Joe Heyward Williams, Jr., of Route 1, Pomaria. I asked who was driving the truck and a Mr. Griffin came to me and said that his wife, Patricia DuBose Griffin was driving the pick-up truck. This truck was a 1964 Dodge, blue and white in color. Through my inves­tigation, there was no damage done to this pick-up truck that I could see. This truck was 195 feet from the body where the truck came to a stop after hitting the deceased. I asked Mrs. Griffin what happened and she told me that she was headed south on Secondary 351. She said that she saw

a man standing or walking on the side of the road as she came around this curve. She said when she got right before passing by subject, he apparent­ly fell in the road in front of her. She said that she swerved to miss him but, as you know, from what we can gather in my investigation, the front wheel of the truck ran over the deceased, which caused him to come to his death.

There were no skid marks on the road. The road was wet at the time of the accident, when the accident took place. I could wee no visible skid marks where the truck had skidded prior to hitting the deceased. The deceased's body was lying entirely in the road. He was on the edge on the right hand side of the road and if he was walking, he was walking facing the traffic on the left hand side but his entire body was lying in the paved portion of the road.

Mr. Summer, that’s all I can think of at this time. One more thing, after the pick-up hit the body, the pick-up went off the highway into a field and apparently, when I got to the scene, the pick-up truck was back up the road some sixty-something feet from where it had gone out in the field. Other witnesses told me that they had pushed the truck out and had backed it up the road, but 195 feet from the body is where the truck came to stop into the field. When I got to the scene, the truck was not 195 feet from the body at that time; it was approximately 130 feet.

Q.    Did she state approximately what speed she was driving?

A.    Yes, sir, she told me she was traveling approximately 30 miles an hour at the time of this accident, the time the truck hit the subject.

Q.    Did you smell any alcohol or anything on the passengers of the truck?

A.    No, sir, I didn't smell anything.

Q.    Could you smell any on the deceased?

A.    No, sir, at the time the road was wet and the position of the body, it was hard to determine. I couldn't smell anything.

Q.    You checked the truck thoroughly to see whether or not there were any dents anywhere on it?

A.    Yes, sir. It had some old dents on it, but I couldn't determine any fresh dents and I did get in the trunk and check the brakes out and the truck had good brakes and good tires on it but I couldn't find any fresh marks of any kind of damage to the truck.

CORONER SUMMER: Any questions you gentlemen want to ask?

BY JUROR: Was there an autopsy?

CORONER SUMMER: No. Is there anything else?

By Coroner Summer:

Q.    I don't believe there were any other eye witnesses to this?

A.    No, sir, I asked at the scene if there were any witnesses. No one came to me. Apparently there wasn't, as far as I know, no eye witnesses.

Q.    I believe you stated the right front wheel is what you think ran over the deceased?

A.    Yes, sir. Mrs. Griffin told me that when the subject apparently fell in front of her, she swerved to miss and from what I can gather from her, explaining to me what happened, and what I can gather at the scene, that's the conclusion that I came to.

CORONER SUMMER: Is there anything else you can tell us? If not, I may call you back a little later to explain something to us. That will be all for right now.

MR. HEMPHILL P. PRIDE II, (Attorney):  I have one question I would like for you to ask, Your Honor.

CORONER SUMMER: Could you determine whether the deceased died in­stantly or not?

THE WITNESS: From what I gathered, when I saw the body, I would say he did die instantly. I don't see how any human could withstand what he had, what hit him.

CORONER SUMMER: At this time, you didn't take any statement from anybody, did you?

THE WITNESS: No sir.

CORONER SUMMER: All right, I may call you back later.                (Witness Excused.)

BERLEY EUGENE SHEALY, Being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

BY CORONER SUMMER:

Q.    What is your full name, sir?

A.    Berley Eugene Shealy.

Q.    What position do you hold, Mr. Shealy?

A.    Sheriff, Newberry County.

Q.    This accident happened, Sheriff Shealy, did I ask you to take a blood sample to the Law Enforcement Division in Columbia, and did you do this sir?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    Would you read what the findings were, sir?

A. "Following is the report of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Divi­sion Laboratory giving the results of examination conducted upon evidence received from your office. Examination requested: Analysis of blood for alcohol content. "Specimens: Sample blood labeled Joe Heyward Williams. Results of examination: 0.484%.” “This examination was made by Lt. James K. Wilson, Laboratory Tech­nician, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.”

Q.    Sheriff Shealy, do you know what amount it takes to make a per­son drunk? If you don't, I will call the patrolman back.

A.    Well, on these breathalyzers they put them on now for driving under the influence, 11 percent.

Q.    Eleven percent?

A.    I think I am right; .11 percent.

Q.    This amount in this test, Sheriff, is about how many times the amount that it takes to be under the influence?

A.    Well, 11 percent and 48.

Q.    .11 percent.

A.    .11 percent, this is .484, that would be, I would say probably four times as much and a little more.

CORONER SUMMER: All right, thank you.                           (Witness Excused.)

CORONER SUMMER: Mr. Foreman and Gentlemen, this is all the evidence we have other than the doctor's statement, which I will read and also turn over to you when you retire to the jury room.

"August 9,1970. This is to certify that I examined the dead body of Joe Heyward Williams and found that the frontal bone was crushed and the anterior portion of both parietal bones were crushed. There was a wide deep laceration on left hand. The fractures, hemorrhage and shock were sufficient to cause death."                         Signed, J. E. Grant, M.D.

Mr. Foreman and Gentlemen of the Jury, this is all we have now to offer. It is your duty now to retire to the Jury room to pass your verdict on how Joe Heyward Williams, Jr., came to his death. (Whereupon, the Jury retired and after deliberation, returned to the courtroom and delivered the following verdict, concurred in by all jurors:)

"Joe Heyward Williams, Jr., came to his death as the result of an unavoidable car or truck accident. We recommend that no one be held."

 (Whereupon, the proceedings in this matter were concluded.)

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at Newberry County Courthouse, Newberry, in the county and State aforesaid, the 28th day of August A. D., one thou­sand nine hundred and seventy before GEOR GE R.SUMMER, Coroner, upon view of the body of Kennedy Glymph, then and there being dead by the oaths of Ronnie W. Sharpe, Marvin C. Eaves, Wayne Lathrop, Larry R. Minick, Raymond Ruff and Larry D. Wesinger, being a lawful jury of inquest who being charged and sworn to inquire, for the State of South Carolina where and by what means the said Kennedy Glymph Came to his death, upon their oaths, do say, Kennedy Glymph came to his death as the result of an accident. And so the said jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say, that the aforesaid Kennedy Glymph came to his death as the result of an acci­dent. We the jury find that due to the lack of evidence, we recommend that Charles Beach be held for Grand Jury investigation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I, GEORGE R. SUMMER, Coroner aforesaid, and the jurors aforesaid, to this inquisition, have set our hands and seals, the day and year aforesaid.

                                                                                /s/ George R. Summer, Coroner (L.S.)
                                                                                /s/ Ronnie W. Sharpe, Foreman (L.S.)

/s/ Marvin C. Eaves (L.S.)

/s/ Wayne Lathrop (L.S.)                                                     /s/ Raymond Ruff (L.S.)

/s/Larry R. Minick (L.S.)                                                       /s/ Larry D. Wessinger (L.S.)

PROCEEDINGS

CORONER SUMMER: Will the Foreman stand and be sworn? (Whereupon, the Foreman of the Jury, and members of the Jury, were duly sworn.)

CORONER SUMMER: Mr. Foreman and Gentlemen of the Jury, this is an inquisition into the cause of death of little Kennedy Glymph. It is your duty to listen to the testimony we have to offer in this inquisition, and from this testimony, you will arrive at how this Kennedy Glymph came to his death. If you find that someone else is responsible for his death

in a reckless manner or any way, you shall recommend that they be held for Grand Jury investigation. If you do not, then you will recommend that they do not be held for Grand Jury investigation.

OTTO CHAPLIN, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

BY CORONER SUMMER:­

Q.    What is your full name, sir?

A.    Otto Chaplin.

Q.    On August 16 this year, Mr., Chaplin, would you go ahead and tell these gentlemen just what you know about this incident?

A.    Well, I pulled up there and parked, you know, beside the road above, you know, the driveway. Sara and them
        gets out and I was sitting there looking to the right at them getting out, you know and she just got out and looked like the next thing I heard her say, "Kennedy, let's go" and the next thing I heard, I didn't see nothing. I didn't see no car or nothing, in any way, shape, form, or fashion. I heard her say, "Lord, my baby". She was all down there in the road hollering and me and my wife jumped out and had to get to her to keep cars from hitting her and then when I got a chance to look, I still didn't see no baby or nobody. The car had carried him on down the road. In fact, I just didn't get to see nothing it was done so quick.

Q.    You say you pulled up on the side of the road. Did you get com­pletely off of the road?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    Or was part of your car on the pavement?

A.    I was completely off.

Q.    Both wheels were completely off the pavement?

A     Yes, sir.                                                                      

Q.    You were coming towards Newberry?

A.    That's right.

Q.    That’s from Winnsboro, that's Highway 34?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    You pulled off on the right hand side coming towards Newberry?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    You were driving the car at the time it stopped? You were driving your car before you parked to let the lady out and the little boy?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    Who was sitting in front with you?

A.    My wife.

Q.    And who was in the backseat?

A.    Sara Glymph and her little grandson.

Q.    You were coming this way; did they get out on the right hand side of the car or the left hand side of the car?

A.    They got out in the right.

Q.    Did they come around behind the car or in front of the car?

A.    They went around behind the car.

Q.    Is there anything else you can tell us about this, then?

A.    No. I tell you the truth, it was done so quick, I ain't seen nothing. I just heard, you know, when she made the scream, I heard the lick from the car said, "boom!" I said, "Lord, wonder if that chap got hit or something". She was all out in the road hollering and going on. A car could have hit her. They were coming from both ways. Me and my wife had to go grab her to keep her from getting run over, because she went away when that chap got hit like that. I was there, I didn't have good sense myself, tell you the truth. That's just the way it was, all I know.

Q.    This was in the daytime, wasn't it?

A.    Yes, sir, about six o'clock.

Q.    And you say you never did see the other car, you just heard the bump?

A.    No, sir, when I seen the car, it had done hit. When I heard the fuss, I seen the car go by. When I heard it say, "boom" then I looked and I seen the car go by.

Q.    You said the child came out from behind your car and you seen the car and then it went bump. Did you see the car before it got to your car?

A.    No, when I heard the thing bump, I looked across over there, and then that's when I seen the car going right on by, down below, on down the road.

Q.    Mrs. Glymph lived across the road?

A.    Yes, sir.

CORONER SUMMER:  That will be all. Any questions you gentlemen would like to ask?           (Witness Excused.)

DAISY CHAPLIN, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

BY CORONER SUMMER:                                                  

Q.    What is your full name?

A.    Daisy Chaplin.

Q.    You heard your husband testify, just go ahead and tell in your own words just what you know about this.

A.    Well, all I know, I heard my sister Sara say, "Oh, Kennedy", you know, hollering, and about that time I turned my heard around and the car just boomed and I saw the baby went up.

Q.    You were riding in the front with your husband?

A.    That's right.

Q.    They did get out on the right hand side of the car?

A.    That's right.

Q.    And go around the back?

A.    That's right.

Q.    You didn't see the car until-­

A.    Until I heard it hit the child.

Q.    Is there anything else you can tell us?

A.    No, sir, no more than what he told you.

CORONER SUMMER: That's all.           (Witness Excused.)

CORONER SUMMER: Mrs. Sara Glymph?

MR. HEMPHILL P. PRIDE, II (Attorney): I represent Mrs. Glymph.

She is under a doctor's care and is not here tonight.

CORONER SUMMER: Mr. Charles Beach?

MR. JOHN MARTIN (Attorney): I am John Martin. I represent Mr. Beach. It's very probable that he will testify, but we would like to reserve his testimony until after the investigating officer testifies, if that is con­venient with the Court.

CORONER SUMMER: All right. Mr. DeVore, please?

DONALD CARROLL DEVORE, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

BY CORONER SUMMER:

Q.    For the record, what is your full name, sir?

A.    Donald Carroll DeVore.

Q.    What position do you hold?

A.    I'm a patrolman with the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

Q.    On August 16, did you have a call to go investigate an accident on Highway 34?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    Just go ahead in your own words and tell these gentlemen just what your investigation was.

­A.    Approximately 6:35 on the 16th of August, 1970, on Sunday after­noon, I received a call that there was a car
        versus pedestrian accident on Highway 34, approximately one mile this side of Keitt's Crossroads. Approximately 6:40 p.m. I arrived at the scene of this accident and I saw the body of Kennedy Glymph laying on the side of the road.

The driver of the automobile that was involved in the wreck, Mr. Charles Joseph Beach, Jr., came to me as soon as I arrived at the scene and told me that he was the driver of the car and he had hit the child. Mr. Beach was driving a 1966 model Ford, four-door. It was green in color. The car, I checked out the brakes on the car. The brakes were good. The tires were good. The car apparently was in good shape.

I asked were there any witnesses to this accident and Mr. Otto Chap­lin came to me and I asked Mr. Otto to tell me on his own words what happened. Mr. Chaplin said that they were coming from church, and were headed west towards Newberry on Highway 34 and he and his wife, were in the front seat and Mrs. Sara Glymph and Kennedy were in the back seat. Otto said that Sara said, "Otto, just let us out at the mail box rather than pull up in the driveway and we'll just get out there and walk across the road home." Mr. Otto said that he stopped at the side of the road at the mailbox and said that Mrs. Sara and Kennedy got out and he said it all happened fast, and he told me that he heard, "Come back here, child,” and then he heard a hit. I talked with Mrs. Daisy Chaplin, Mr. Otto's wife and she told me that Mrs. Sara told Otto to stop at the mail box and let them out and she said the child got out and got out in the right hand side and was coming around the back of the car. She said she heard some screaming and it all happened so fast, that was all she could tell me. They were all real torn up at the time.

Those are the only witnesses that I talked to at the scene and I talked to Mr. Beach, the driver of the car. Mr. Beach said that he was headed towards Winnsboro on Highway 34. They were traveling approx­imately 55 miles an hour and he said that when he got to the particular scene that the child just darted out in front of him and he just hit the child. There was no visible skid marks on the road. The road conditions were dry. The weather was clear. There were no skid marks on the road. I made some measurements. Mr. Chaplin took me back up to where he had stopped the car at the mailbox. He told me approximately where the child had darted out into the road and from that point to where the body was lying was 160 feet. The car was an additional 33 feet beyond the body, off the road on the shoulder.

As I said, there were no skid marks and the car appeared to be good condition. The damage to the automobile was on the left front grill and hood, on the left front of the car. There apparently seemed to be no defects to Mr. Beach. I didn't smell any alcohol on him.

Q.    How about the road there, is visibility good, or is it downgrade?

A.    The place of the wreck, it's a straight road, but coming out of Newberry, coming towards the scene of this
        accident, you come up a hill. It's not a real sharp hill, but you come up a fair incline, but there is no curve. The road is straight. It's not a real long visibility but it is a hill, but it's not a quick-dip hill, it's just an incline hill. From where Otto Chaplin pointed out to me where the child had crossed the road in front of Mr. Beach's automobile, to where Mr. Beach's auto­mobile come to stop was 193 feet from where the child darted out into the road to where the automobile stopped, with no skid marks. The child was 160 feet from the mailbox and the car was an additional 33 feet beyond that.

Q.    Was the road condition there good?

A.    Yes, the road condition is good; good road, clear weather, and the road was dry. Just a hill there, but a straight road.

Q.    This happened in Newberry County, did it not sir?

A.    Yes, sir, it happened in Newberry County, Highway 34.

Q.    Is there anything else?

A.    No, sir, that's about all I have at this time.

CORONER SUMMER: Any questions?

BY JUROR: Do you happen to have the figures on how far it takes a car to stop at 55 miles an hour?

THE WITNESS: The figures that I can give you is with the car skidding and not hitting anything. That's leaving two
black skid marks, but this automobile did not slide, but I could give you the figures on a car skid­ding if that would
be permissible.

CORONER SUMMER: Any other questions? What is the posted speed limit there, sir?

THE WITNESS: The posted speed limit is 55 miles an hour on this par­ticular road.

CORONER SUMMER: All right, thank you.                 (Witness Excused.)

MR. JOHN MARTIN: Mr. Coroner, in view of the investigating officer's testimony being identical to what Mr. Beach's would be, we would feel there would be no necessity for him to testify at this time.

CORONER SUMMER: All right.

Mr. Foreman and Gentlemen of the Jury, that then brings to an end the witnesses that are going to testify in this inquisition, so I will now read the doctor's statement.

“August 27,1970. To Whom it May Concern: This is to certify that Kennedy Glymph was examined by me on 8/16/70 and it was found that he came to his death as a result of severed spinal cord in the upper cervical region resulting from a fractured neck.”                                                                                         Signed, Elbert J. Dickert, M.D.

Mr. Foreman and Gentlemen, it is now your duty to retire to the jury room to pass your verdict on how Kennedy Glymph came to his death. You had your charge at the beginning of this inquisition and you will now re­tire to the jury room and bring back a verdict as to how he came to his death and by what means. (Whereupon, the jury retired, and after deliberation, returned to the courtroom and delivered the following verdict, concurred in by all jurors:)

"Kennedy Glymph came to his death as the result of an accident. We the jury find that due to the lack of evidence, we recommend that Charles Beach be held for Grand Jury investigation."

 (Whereupon, the proceedings in this matter were concluded.)

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at Newberry in the County and state aforesaid, the seventh day of January A. D., one thousand nine hundred and seventy-one before GEORGE R. SUMMER, Coroner, upon view of the body of Jack

Randolph Harris then and there being dead by the oaths of W. H. Nobles, Jr., John W. Smith, Marion J. Wiggins, George B. Sligh, J. David Bowers and C. Shealy Counts, being a lawful jury of inquest who being charged and sworn to inquire, for the state of South Carolina where and by what means the said Jack Randolph Harris came to his death, upon their oaths, do say Jack Randolph Harris came to his death as the result of injuries received in an automobile accident. We recommend that Derrill Rinehart be held for Grand Jury investigation. And so the said jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say, that the aforesaid Jack Randolph Harris came to his death in the manner aforesaid, and recommend that Derrill Rinehart be held for Grand Jury investigation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I, GEORGE R. SUMMER, Coroner aforesaid, and the jurors aforesaid, to this inquisition, have set our hands and seals, the day and year aforesaid.

                                                                                /s/ George R. Summer, Coroner (L.S.)

                                                                                /s/ W. H. Nobles, Jr., Foreman, (L.S.)

/s/ John W. Smith (L.S.)

/s/ Marion J. Wiggins (L.S.)                                                  /s/ J. David Bowers (L.S.)

/s/ George B. Sligh (L.S.)                                                     /s/ C. Shealy Counts (L.S.)

PROCEEDINGS

CORONER SUMMER: Will the foreman stand and be sworn? (Whereupon, the foreman of the Jury, and members of the Jury, were duly sworn.)

CORONER SUMMER: Mr. Foreman and Gentlemen of the Jury, this is an inquisition into the death of Jack Harris. You are to listen to the tes­timony we have to offer in this case, and from this testimony you will arrive at how Jack Harris came to his death. You will insert in your verdict the name of the deceased, by what means he met his death and by whose hands if other than himself. If you find someone else responsible for his death, you will recommend in this verdict that they are to be held for Grand Jury investigation.

Mr. Derrill Rinehart, before I swear you in, at an inquisition as you may not know, you do not have to testify. If you want to testify, I will be glad to swear you in. Whatever you say can be used for or against you. If you would like to make a statement as to what you know about this, I would be glad to swear you in.

MR. RINEHART: Well, I think I told the patrolman about what all I knowed about what happened.

CORONER SUMMER: Well, do you want to be sworn in, or do you just want to not take the stand?

MR. RINEHART: Whatever you all want to do.

CORONER SUMMER: No, I have to give you this alternative. You have to make the decision, whether you want to testify or you don't want to tes­tify.

MR. RINEHART: Well, I don't know much about this, I mean whether to testify or not testify.

CORONER SUMMER: It's immaterial. If you want to testify in your behalf, you can, but as I say, whatever you say can be used for or against you if they may hold you. This doesn't mean that they are going to hold you but whatever you say can be used for you or against you. If you would like to be sworn in I will be glad to swear you in.

MR. RINEHART: Well, I can if you had rather.

CORONER SUHMER: No, you've got to either say you want to or not. A lot of them do, a lot don't.

MR. RINEHART: Well, I ain't got nothing to hide.

CORONER Sill1HER: Well, if you want to be sworn in, say yes or no.

MR. RINEHART: That will be all right.

DERRILL FREDDY RINEHART, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

By Coroner Summer:

Q.    What is your full name?

A.    Derrill Freddy Rinehart.

Q.    Mr. Rinehart, on December 12 of last year, were you driving a 1964 Plymouth automobile?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    In your own words, Mr. Rinehart, just go ahead and tell these gentlemen here just what happened that afternoon. Take your time, start wherever you want to and tell us what you know about what happened.

A.    You mean as far as the wreck, accident went?

Q.    Yes.

A.    Well, I was coming down the road there, coming up to this 45-mile zone. Well, I just let off the gas and went to ease on the brakes a little. As I went to turn the wheel just a little bit like that (indica­ting), the back end went around just like that (indicating) and I don't know, it just happened so quick. We just went up the road sideways and hit that terra cotta there at that driveway that goes into that trailer. I went out the door then and I don't know what happened from then on.

Q.    Do you know approximately what speed you were driving before you let up off the gas?

A.    No, I don't. My speedometer was broke.

Q.    Had it been raining any that afternoon?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    Was the pavement wet?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    Who was in the car with you, Mr. Rinehart?

A.    My son-in-law, Jack Harris.

Q.    Was he sitting in the front seat by you, sir?

A.    Yes.

Q.    What highway was this?

A.    76.

Q.    Do you know approximately what time this happened?

A.    I don't know. I figured around about 2:15, somewhere along in there, 2:30.

Q.    I believe you live at Clinton, South Carolina?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    You weren't involved with any other automobile?

A.    No, sir.

Q.    You just went off the road to your right and hit the terra cotta and it flipped you out of the automobile?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    Do you know whether it threw Mr. Harris out or not?

A.    Yes, sir, it throwed him out, or when I got up, he was laying over in the ditch so I assume it throwed him out.

Q.    Were you on your way home?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    Had you been drinking any that day, Mr. Rinehart?

A.    Yes, I had.

Q.    Had you been drinking to excess?

A.    No, sir.

Q.    Is there anything else you can tell us about this?

A.    That's about all.

Q.    How about Mr. Harris, had he been drinking any that day?

A.    Yes, sir.

CORONER SUMMER: Any questions you gentlemen would like to ask? If that's all, thank you, sir. (Witness Excused.)

J. H. OATES, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

By Coroner Summer:

Q.    What is your name, sir?

A.    J. H. Oates.

Q.    What position do you hold, Mr. Oates?

A.    Patrolman here in Newberry.

Q.    Mr. Oates, about 2:30 on December 12 of last year, did you get a call to investigate a wreck on highway 76?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    Mr. Oates, just in your own words, tell these gentlemen of the jury what your investigation was, sir.

A.    Yes, sir. On the 12th of December, approximately 2:30, I received a call there had been a wreck on Highway 76
        several miles out of Newberry next to the overhead bridge at Jalapa. Upon arriving at the scene, we found a one-car wreck, the car being a two-door, 1964 Plymouth. This car had left the road, left Highway 76, left the right hand shoulder of the road in a straight line with tire marks leaving a straight line, went and hit a terra cotta, went over the terra cotta after hitting the terra cotta, went over the terra cotta in the air, turned over one time and came to rest partially in the highway and partially in the shoulder of the road. Upon further investigation, we found that there were two subjects in the car, one Derrill Freddy Rinehart who said that he was the driver, and the other, Jack Randolph Harris who was a passenger. Jack Randolph Harris was dead when we arrived on the scene. Mr. Rine­hart was taken to the hospital in Newberry. Upon finishing our investiga­tion there at the scene, we went to Newberry Hospital where we asked Mr.

Rinehart if he would like to talk about the wreck. He said lie did. He was advised of his rights and questioned.

We asked him was he driving the car and he said yes. He consented to a blood test and the blood test was sent to SLED where it was analyzed and it came back that Mr. Rinehart was under the influence of alcohol.

Q.    Did it state what percent?

A.    Yes, sir; 0.188.

Q.    Did you also get a specimen from Mr. Harris?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    Did they make an analysis on it,

A.    Yes sir. It was 0.056. He was not under the influence.

Q.    What is the percent that you are under the influence, Mr. Oates?

A.    0.150.

Q.    You said this car turned over one time. Did it come back to rest on its wheels?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    How was the road condition there, Mr. Oates?

A.    Daylight; it had been raining but it was clear at the time. It was open country; it was a curve on level pavement,
        asphalt pavement. The pavement was wet and no defects to the road. The curve was posted    45 miles an hour.

Q.    Could you see any kind of a skid or swerve marks in the highway?

A.    No, sir, the only marks that we saw were the marks that led off the pavement and led straight, left the right side of the pavement and led straight to the terra cotta which the vehicle struck and I might say the tire marks were straight. They weren't sliding. It was just like the car was driven off the road. The car wasn't sliding when it left the road, or it didn't slide after it hit the road. It just went straight.

Q.    Well if it had swerved back a little from that, could you have told it on the wet pavement? Before you saw the lines going into the ditch off the highway, could you have told whether it swerved back a little piece from there?

A.    If it had left a black mark, we could. There were no black marks in the road.

Q.    This happened in Newberry County, did it not?

A.    Yes, sir.

CORONER SUMMER: Any questions?

JUROR: What was the distance between leaving the road and hitting the culvert?

THE WITNESS: I don't have the exact measurements with me. It’s on another report. The report I have now is the one that goes to the Department. The other report is a confidential report. I don't have it. I could take a guess, but I'd rather not.

CORONER SUMMER: Any other questions? If not, that is all. (Witness Excused.)

CORONER SUMMER: This is from Dr. V. W. Rinehart, M. D.

"Jack Randolph Harris, D.O.A. at Newberry Hospital Emergency Room at 3:30 P. M. following an auto accident. Cause of death, broken neck, severe head injuries, internal hemorrhages, lacerations over face.
                                                                                               Signed by Dr. V. W. Rinehart, M.D.

Mr. Foreman and Gentlemen of the Jury, this is all we have to offer in this case. You heard the charge at the beginning of this inquisition. It is your duty now to retire to the jury room to pass your verdict on how Jack R. Harris came to his death. (Whereupon, the jury retired, and after deliberation, returned to the courtroom and delivered the following verdict, concurred in by all jurors:)

 “Jack Randolph Harris came to his death as the result of injuries received in an automobile accident. We recommend that Derrill Rinehart be held for Grand Jury investigation." 

 (Whereupon, at approximately 7:55 p.m., the inquisition was concluded.)

 

Back to Coroners Inquest

Return to Newberry County, South Carolina Genealogy Trails
 This is a FREE website.
If you were directed here through a link for which you paid $ for, you can access much more FREE data via our Newberry County index page at
http://genealogytrails.com/scar/newberry/index.htm
Also make sure to visit our main Genealogy Trails History Group website at
http://genealogytrails.com
for much more nationwide historical/genealogical data and access to our other state/county websites.