Friday, 08 June 2018 10:59

I-95 hit and run claims life of S.C. man

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A Florida man was charged Thursday in a fatal hit and run which claimed the life of a 77-year-old South Carolina man.

The collision occurred in the southbound lane of Interstate 95 near the Highway 48 exit in Northampton County shortly before 1:45 p.m.

The collision tied up traffic in that area for around two hours.

Trooper Scott Richardson of the state Highway Patrol said Vernon Guest, 51, of Fernandina Beach, Florida, was charged with felony hit and run, misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, reckless driving, fail to maintain lane control, fictitious registration, simple possession of marijuana and no seat belt.

Guest was jailed on $21,000 bond and has a first appearance in Halifax County District Court set for July 17.

Richardson said there was no evidence Guest was impaired. He said the fictitious registration charge was based on information received the tags were issued for a trailer.

The crash occurred as the victim in the case, Phillip Stone, of Camden, South Carolina, slowed his Nissan Sentra down for two cars in front of him where traffic was converting to one lane due to bridge repairs.

Richardson said Guest never slowed down and was traveling an estimated 65 to 70 miles per hour when he struck the rear of Stone’s vehicle, causing the back end of the victim’s Nissan to be pushed into the driver’s seat.

The impact pushed Stone’s vehicle into a truck in front of him and Guest’s Dodge Ram pickup struck the mirror of a Prius.

Guest continued traveling south. The only reason he gave for continuing to travel after the crash “was that he panicked,” Richardson said.

Richardson said witness descriptions of the vehicle were crucial in the case and led Sergeant M. Cape to locate Guest at a rest area just south of Gold Rock, some 25 miles from the site of the initial collision. “They were very crucial because without the witnesses we wouldn’t have been able to locate the vehicle.”

Stone’s wife was taken to Halifax Regional Medical Center. Richardson said she was in shock at the time.

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