by: Greg Suskin Updated:CLOVER —
A high school senior faces charges after troopers said he lost control of his SUV in Clover on the way home from school Monday. Three of the four students in the SUV were seriously hurt.
The students would not have even been at school, except that they were making up a snow day from February.
Troopers said 19-year-old Justin McBeth was speeding in the 2002 Ford Explorer when he lost control in a curve on Bate Harvey Road, over corrected, and flipped the SUV several times.
Pieces from the mangled SUV are strewn more than 50 yards on both sides of the road. In the debris sits a comb, toothpaste, and various snacks. Large gash marks are visible where the SUV tore up the asphalt as it tumbled across the two-lane wooded road, ending up on its side.
In the SUV were four students from Clover High School, three seniors and a freshman. The freshman girl was the only student to walk away from the crash, unhurt.
Two were trapped in the vehicle, and the fourth was ejected onto the road. She has had two emergency surgeries, and suffered the most serious injuries.
Neighbor Jeanine Casselman drove by the disturbing crash site on Tuesday. She's praying for the families involved in this small community.
"It’s not supposed to happen. These kids are supposed to graduate, go off to college and not worry about stuff like this," she said.
Clover Schools spokesman Mychal Frost, along with the school principal, went to see the three students on Tuesday at Carolinas Medical Center. They were able to see two of them, and visit with all three of their families.
"Two of them will have a much quicker recovery, and one will have a long road to recovery, but our thoughts and prayers are with her," Frost said.
Frost said he was encouraged while at the hospital because all the students were asking about their friends in the crash, wanting to know they were all OK.
He said one victim's mother told him what her son did while still trapped in the back seat of the SUV and badly hurt.
"He was able to call his mother from the car, and during that phone call, the mom was telling us the whole time he way saying, 'Check on the girl that's in the road! Go check her! Go check her!" he said.
The good news is all three seniors are expected to survive the crash and make it to their graduation, school district officials said Tuesday. If the girl who was ejected from the car, and hurt the worst, can't get to graduation next Thursday, Clover High School plans to bring the ceremony to her.
"She’ll get that diploma," Frost said. "We'll make sure of that."