Family, girlfriend defend Rock Hill woman charged with attempted murder

A woman police say was run over with a car last week said Monday her girlfriend should not have been arrested in the incident.

Police charged Sherika Jeanine Hamilton, 25, with attempted murder on Friday after they say she hit Lara McConnell with a car, crashed the car into a light pole and tried to choke McConnell. But McConnell said she wasn’t run over and that Hamilton herself called police.

McConnell told the Herald on Monday that she tried explaining to authorities that Hamilton has suffered from several problems that might have resulted in her behavior. She believes Hamilton’s actions were a “cry for help,” she said.

According to a police report, Hamilton and McConnell argued Friday in a Lige Street driveway, and Hamilton ran her girlfriend over with a 2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser. Hamilton stopped the car, police reported, pulled McConnell to her feet and instructed her to drive Hamilton away.

Police say once the two were in the car, Hamilton punched McConnell in the right eye and began squeezing her neck. She grabbed the steering wheel, they say, turning it toward the side of the road and warning the victim she would “kill them both,” the report states.

They drove into a 1999 Dodge Durango parked in a Lige Street yard, the report says. McConnell managed to drive the car back onto the road, but Hamilton grabbed the steering wheel again, police say, and caused the car to crash into a utility pole.

The impact was enough to deploy both airbags, the report states.

Hamilton got out of the car and continued to choke and punch McConnell, police say. An officer arrived and witnessed Hamilton’s attack.

McConnell suffered injuries to her left ankle, left leg, under her left arm and on her right eye. Police took pictures of what appeared to be tire marks on her legs and recovered physical evidence from the scene showing that her leg made contact with a car tire, said Rock Hill Police Executive Officer Mark Bollinger.

Paramedics took McConnell to Piedmont Medical Center, while Hamilton was taken to the hospital for treatment and a mental evaluation, the report states. After Hamilton’s release from the hospital, police charged her with attempted murder.

But McConnell says Hamilton did not choke her.

“I don’t have any choke marks. I’m not under the impression whatsoever that she was trying to kill me,” McConnell said. “I think if she would have hit me with a car, I would have been in much worse condition.”

McConnell confirmed details of the crash but said most of her injuries came from the car accident, not from Hamilton.

“The only thing on my face is from where the airbag deployed on my eye,” she said. “Besides that, all I have are bruises ... from the accident.”

Maria Hamilton, Hamilton’s mother, said her daughter has been to several treatment centers in the past to address problems. She said she plans to hire an attorney.

“She ain’t no bad girl,” Maria Hamilton said. “She just got a bad deal when she was small.”

Hamilton was being held Monday at the York County Detention Center on a $50,000 bond.