Judge denies bond for man charged with DUI in SC crash that killed 7-year-old boy

CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. — A man charged with driving under the influence in a crash that killed a 7-year-old South Carolina boy was denied bond in court Thursday.

The crash happened on July 10 in Chester County, on Interstate 77 north of Highway 9. 7-year-old Max Shanks was killed and his dad, Corey, was seriously hurt.

A judge denied Jason Palmer bond Thursday, calling him a flight risk. The judge came to that decision after hearing a lot of new information in the case.

Channel 9′s Tina Terry was in court for the emotional hearing, where family members for both Palmer and Shanks addressed the judge. Palmer’s attorney argued he should be released from jail on bond, saying he is not a flight risk. But Shanks’ mom begged the judge to deny the request, saying Palmer broke the rules of a previous bond, drove recklessly and altered her family forever.

“Jason Palmer, you, your careless actions and disregard for others have changed the course of our entire family. You killed my son Max,” Jessica Shanks said.

The solicitor said in July, Palmer was driving 98 miles per hour when he slammed into the car that was carrying the 7-year-old. The boy’s mother, father and little brother were also inside the car.

“The last words Max heard me say were ‘oh my God he is going to hit us,’” Jessica Shanks said. “I now somehow live every day without him, anxiously waiting to see him again. I say good night to a flickering battery-operated candle that stays lit in his memory instead of him.”

Corey Shanks was in a coma for days in July and on Thursday, Terry learned he suffered a traumatic brain injury.

“I have not returned to work because of the demands of my husband’s needs and therapy,” Jessica Shanks said.

At the time, officers said Palmer had drugs in the car and appeared to be under the influence. But in court Thursday, Terry learned a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division toxicology exam showed he was negative for alcohol and 19 other substances SLED typically tests for.

Chester County Solicitor Candice Lively said the test did show a small level of THC metabolite in Palmer’s system. She asked SLED to go back and test for the possibility of synthetic drugs in Palmer’s system that may have caused impairment.

His pastor and sister both said Palmer is a good person with a troubled past.

“He is torn apart over what has happened. That -- for somebody like him, that has had so many losses -- that he could be involved in someone else’s loss tears him up to no end,” his pastor said.

Jessica Shanks supported the judge’s decision to withhold bond, saying releasing him would put the public at risk.

“You stole Max’s life with your reckless actions,” she said. “Based on what do you feel you have the right to be free?”

At the time of the crash, Palmer was out of jail on bond for allegedly failing to report a death in Mecklenburg County. That was a big part of the argument for denying his bond.

Right now, Palmer faces charges of felony DUI with death, felony DUI with great bodily injury and possession of crack/methamphetamine and marijuana. Those charges could change pending the results of the newly requested toxicology screening.

The solicitor said those new test results should return in a few weeks.

(WATCH PREVIOUS BELOW: Man released from hospital after deadly Chester County crash took son’s life, wife says)