Tow truck loads demolished vehicle after deadly crash
Minutes before the deadly crash in December that killed three Horry County teens, a fourth person was riding along and briefly drove the truck, according to a recently released report from the South Carolina Highway Patrol Multi-disciplinary Accident Investigation Team.
MAIT findings, made available to The Sun News through a Freedom of Information request, also show the teenage girls killed in the crash were traveling at an estimated speed of 80 mph. The wreck happened around 3:15 a.m. Dec. 22 on Bay Road, which has a speed limit of 35 mph, according to the report.
“A 2006 Toyota Tundra was traveling west on Bay Road before running off the left shoulder of the roadway into a ditch, plowing through the ditch and striking two trees,” the MAIT report states, which also says the truck’s cab was split from its frame from the impact.
The victims killed in the single-vehicle crash were: Hailey Parsons, 15; Kai-Lei Schumal, 14; and Yamila “Naomi” Alcoser Silva, 15; according to SCHP documents.
Parsons – who was not eligible for a driver’s license under state law – was driving when the wreck occurred.
The Horry County Coroner’s Office initially refused to release the names of the victims at the request of the girls’ families. The Sun News obtained their names from the traffic collision report, also through an FOI request.
Coroner’s case notes contained within the MAIT report provide a timeline of the girls’ last hours before their deaths, including information about another passenger who also briefly drove the vehicle that night, documents say.
Horry County deputy coroner Michelle McSpadden said she saw the truck’s detached cab turned upside down in the roadway when arriving on scene, and the driver “was still restrained by her seatbelt” and had “an apparent massive head wound” as a result of “striking the vehicle frame near the windshield,” according to the report.
Another passenger was in a rear seat in the truck, and the third passenger had been thrown from the vehicle, the report states.
McSpadden said she met with Parsons’ father, who reported both his daughter, her friend “Naomi” and the truck were missing. He last saw Parsons around 1 a.m., and he told McSpadden she took the truck without his permission, according to documents.
McSpadden then went to Goldfinch Funeral Home to get additional photos and information to identify the girls.
After leaving the funeral home, McSpadden received a call from one of Parsons’ family members about photos and videos posted to Parsons’ Snapchat account. Snapchat footage showed four people in the feed, which contained images of Parsons,“Kylie,” “Naomi” and a teenage boy, the document says.
While speaking with the group about the photos, Horry County police dispatch called McSpadden about a child reported missing by her mother. Kai-Lei Schumal had been missing since midnight, the report states.
Once Schumal was identified as one of the passengers killed in the crash, McSpadden informed her mother. That’s when Silva’s stepfather called, saying he heard his stepdaughter had been involved in a crash, the document states.
While McSpadden met with him at his home, the teenage boy seen in photos with the girls came to the home. The girls picked up the teenage boy at his home between 1 and 1:30 a.m., he told authorities.
He said Silva, Parsons and a girl he didn’t know came to his house, and that he drove the vehicle around town before stopping at a gas station, the report says.
“He reported that all four vehicle occupants went into the gas station and purchased drinks (non-alcoholic) and gum. He denied any drug or alcohol use by any of the four,” the document states.
He said Parsons drove after the gas station stop for the rest of his time with the girls.
“He described her driving as erratic, recalling an incident where she drifted out of her lane after becoming distracted,” the report says.
He said he didn’t remember the route the group traveled, but did say he thought they may have been near Carolina Forest at some point, the document states.
He said he thought the girls dropped him off about 3 a.m. The wreck reportedly happened at 3:15 a.m.
An Horry County Coroner’s Office report states blood was taken from Parsons at the crash scene and turned over to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division for investigation.
The Sun News has requested access to the toxicology report, but Thom Berry, SLED spokesman, said Friday that the case is still open due to lab forensic work.
Since the crash, some in the community have called for changes to be made to Bay Road and for guardrails to be added to protect motorists from the steep ditches along the road.
Improvements will be made to the road as part of an existing safety project, but some county councilmen questioned whether guardrails were the answer, and one said he wanted to wait to learn the outcome of the crash investigation before making a decision.