ROCK HILL, S.C. — Police have charged a man with reckless homicide after a three-vehicle crash in Rock Hill left a husband and wife dead and several others seriously hurt.
The wreck happened just before 8:30 p.m. Saturday on Celanese Road near Woodcrest Circle in Rock Hill.
When officers got to the area, they saw three vehicles involved in the wreck: an Infiniti Q50, a Nissan Pathfinder and a Chevrolet Equinox.
Officers determined the Infiniti was driving recklessly before the crash.
Officials said 19-year-old Justin Valdez was driving twice the speed limit, lost control and crossed into oncoming traffic, hitting the Equinox. Valdez’s car was then struck by the Pathfinder.
Police said an 18-year-old woman in Valdez’s car was seriously hurt but is in stable condition.
The driver of the Equinox, 56-year-old Teresa Hewetson, was rushed to the hospital but she later died from her injuries. Her husband, Donald Hewetson, 61, was also in the Equinox and was critically injured. Officials said he died at the hospital on Monday.
Three passengers in the Pathfinder were injured, but they are expected to be OK.
Valdez was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. After he was released, he was arrested and charged with reckless homicide.
In court on Tuesday, Rock Hill police said Valdez has a pattern of speeding and reckless driving. He’s been stopped four times for speeding in the last three years. Once for going 102 mph on Interstate 77. Another time for going 76 mph on McConnells Highway where the limit is 45.
Clint Hewetson, the couple’s oldest son, spoke up in court, asking for no bond.
“So much pain, so much chaos, so many people’s lives were ripped apart, and we just ask that the court considers that, given the blatant and utter disregard for human life in this case, and what appears to be many previous cases as well,” he said.
Rock Hill Police Sgt. Chris Rowe said Valdez was street racing another unknown car when he lost control. They called it a spontaneous race, which started at Celanese and Aldersgate roads and ended when Valdez swerved into oncoming traffic near Woodcrest Circle.
“Witnesses estimated speed at 85 mph or faster, in a 45 mph zone, and rapidly changing lanes,” assistant solicitor Matthew Shelton said.
The crash blocked Celanese Road for hours, and Valdez was later charged with reckless homicide, then arrested again Tuesday when the second victim died.
His lawyer, Montrio Belton disputes police claims that this was a race.
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