UNION COUNTY — Students gathered on the grounds of Union County High School to remember in prayer three local teenagers killed in an automobile accident Sunday morning.
In his report on the accident, L/Cpl Bill Rhyne of the SC Highway Patrol stated that accident occurred around 11:30 a.m. when, for what he said are unknown reasons, a 2003 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck traveling north on US 221 crossed the center line near New Prospect Road and collided with southbound 2012 Nissan Altima and then a 2010 Dodge Charge that was traveling south.
Rhyne said that there were three occupants in the Tacoma at the time of the collision, none of whom were wearing seat belts and all three of whom were pronounced dead at the scene. He said the driver and sole occupant of the Altima was wearing a seat belt at the time of the collision, but was also pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver and sole occupant of the Charger was identified by Rhyne as Sergio McDowell, 31, of Laurens, who he said was also wearing a seat belt at the time of the collision. Rhyne said that McDowell was injured in the collision, and was transported for Self Medical Center in Greenville for treatment.
Laurens County Chief Deputy Coroner Vickie Cheek said Monday that the deceased were Hunter Wayne Carter, 18, who she said was the driver of the Tacoma, and his passengers, Kirslyn Richardson, 16, and Charner Inabinet, 15, all of Union, and Bruce Blair, 54, of Laurens. Cheek said their deaths were due to multiple blunt force trauma.
After learning of the death of the three teens — all of whom were either present or former Union County High School students — Union County School District Superintendent Dr. William Roach issued the following statement:
“Union County Schools officials were notified of the loss of multiple Union County family members earlier today in a tragic car wreck,” Roach said. “It is never easy losing a member of your school family and the effects will be felt across our entire community.”
”Union County High School will have counselors and community mentors available tomorrow for anyone needing support,” he said. “Our heartfelt sympathy and prayers go out to the families and friends affected by this unfortunate event.”
Sunday’s tragedy also resulted in UCHS students holding a prayer vigil this morning at the school.
UCHS Receptionist Ginger Keisler said that Carter and Richardson were both former students at the school, with Carter having graduated in 2017, while Inabinet was in the ninth grade. She said that most students at the school knew them and because of this a prayer vigil was organized by the school’s Junior Civitan Club.
Keisler said that after the news of Carter, Richardson, and Inabinet’s deaths were made public, the UCHS Junior Civitan Club sent out emails and texts to the student body announcing the prayer vigil which would be held on the school grounds. She said students who wanted to participate were invited to meet on the school grounds at 7:45 a.m. Monday.
During the prayer vigil, Keisler said several local pastors and youth ministers spoke along with counselors. She said the vigil lasted approximately 15 minutes but that some students remained for a few minutes longer to talk to the pastors, youth ministers, and counselors, who she said will be at the school throughout the day.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.