Deputies believe two girls – ages 11 and 9 – took turns driving the vehicle that crashed, flipped and caught on fire, killing one of them on Sunday morning near Neeses.
The Orangeburg County Coroner’s Office knows who the victim might be, but still needs to confirm the victim’s identity before releasing the name, Chief Deputy Coroner Sean Fogle said.
The single-vehicle collision occurred at 9:39 a.m. on a dirt road portion of Ninety Six Road near Hebron Road, about two-and-a-half miles east of Neeses, S.C. Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Tyler Tidwell said.
The vehicle was traveling east when it ran off the road, struck an embankment, overturned and caught fire, he said.
When firefighters and paramedics arrived on the scene, the surviving girl allegedly told them that she and her friend had been kidnapped, according to an Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office incident report.
She said the suspects ran off into the woods and that her friend was still missing, the report claims.
Dispatchers called for sheriff’s office deputies to respond using lights and sirens without delay.
After further investigation, deputies determined the girls took a 2011 black Chevrolet Cruz that belonged to the mother of one of the girls.
Around 10:30 a.m., deputies spoke with the mother of the surviving girl at her home.
The mother opened the door to her home and the first thing she asked deputies was, “Where are the girls and where is my car?”
The mother told deputies that she didn’t know the girls left and took the car with them, the report states. She said the girls were inside of the house at 1 a.m. when she went to sleep and that her Chevrolet Cruz was in the driveway.
“There were multiple witnesses on scene that stated they saw the two girls taking turns driving the car as they sped up and down the dirt portion of the 3000 block of Ninety Six Road,” the report states.
Deputies spoke with the surviving girl as she was receiving treatment at the Regional Medical Center.
She said her friend was driving the vehicle when the collision occurred, the report said. At some point when the “girls were switching drivers, a serious collision took place.”
The collision remains under investigation by the S.C. Highway Patrol with the assistance of the Multi-disciplinary Accident Investigation Team.
Orangeburg County School District officials learned of the death Monday.
“Our efforts since learning of this tragedy have focused on supporting our late student’s family grappling with such tremendous loss, as well as our teachers, staff, students and families in their grief,” OCSD Assistant Superintendent for Communications and Business and Community Partnerships Merry Glenne Piccolino said.
“The victim’s school family has been made aware of the tragedy, beginning first with teachers and staff, then parents/guardians. Resources to support children in coping with the loss of a peer were provided, and we arranged for counseling staff to be available to any student, family or staff member who would benefit from their services,” she said.
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