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Hayride crash remains under investigation

The Oct. 28 hayride accident in Ridgeland that sent seven people to area hospitals remained under investigation Monday, according to South Carolina Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Matt Southern.

Southern said the accident happened around 8:03 p.m. on Tarboro Road when a pickup truck struck the rear of a trailer being pulled by a tractor. The driver of the pickup truck was identified as Brandon Davis, 19, of Ridgeland, and the driver of the tractor pulling the trailer was Hiram Lowther, Southern said. He said neither Davis or Lowther were taken to the hospital following the accident.

Alcohol is not suspected as a factor in the crash with either driver. No charges had been filed as of Monday, Southern said.

All seven people taken to the hospital were teenagers, Southern said. He said six other people were involved in the accident but were not taken to the hospital.

One of the teens who was transported to Coastal Carolina Hospital in Hardeeville and immediately taken to Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah because of injuries sustained in the accident was released from the hospital, according to a family member.

Brittany Sanchez Cormack, aunt of Hunter Sanchez, a 15-year old from Hardeeville who sustained severe head injuries in the crash, told the Jasper County Sun Times that Hunter was released from the hospital last Tuesday. He is a sophomore at Legacy Christian Academy in Ridgeland.

“Hunter was released, but he now faces at least six weeks of recovery,” Cormack said. “We are very appreciative of the outpouring of love and support we have received and we are continuing to pray for all that were involved.”

Cormack said Hunter was sitting between two of his friends on the back of the trailer where the ramps are located at the time of the accident. Hunter could not recall the entire accident, Cormack said, but he remembered some details.

“The last thing he remembers is that he was sitting next to his friends and turning out of Nimmer Turf,” Cormack said. “After that, as soon as he came to he was a little confused and he could only remember that a police officer was asking him questions, but he did know how to get in touch with his mom.”

Cormack said Hunter told them he had just started talking to another friend when the crash happened. Hunter, she said, was sitting near Talon and Tristan Horry, the other two boys who were seriously injured.

“He was thrown into the ramp and it knocked him unconscious for a few minutes,” she said. “He had skull and face fractures and a broken jaw. One side of his face was unrecognizable after the accident; he had a broken jaw on both sides.”

Cormack said Hunter had surgery on his jaw and has to have his jaw wired shut for six weeks. She said Hunter and the driver of the pickup truck are former classmates.

“We hold nothing against him,” she said. “He’s a former classmate of Hunter’s and he’s been to see Hunter in the hospital. We realize this was just an accident and unfortunately accidents do happen.”

Both brothers involved in the accident, Tristan and Talon Horry, are out of the hospital, with Tristan being the last to be released, according to their mother, LaTesha Lowther Horry.

“Tristan came home Sunday,” she told the Jasper County Sun Times on Monday. “He’s happy to be home, but stays in a lot of pain.”

Family member Carolyn Lowther Brown said last week Tristan was riding on the inside of the trailer in the back of where the ramps were folded up on the trailer.

“Tristan was on the back and took the blow,” she said. “The ramps hit him and lacerated his liver and spleen; he was thrown over 20 feet from the trailer upon impact. Talon was also thrown from the trailer from where he had been sitting.”

Fund established

Brown established the Horry/Lowther Hayride Fund at South State Bank to help with expenses for the family.

South State Bank’s Ridgeland site is located on 10671 South Jacob Smart Blvd. The Hardeeville site is located at 21979 Whyte Hardee Blvd.

Other donations are being accepted for all of the other families affected by the accident. Anyone wishing to drop off a donation can do so at the front office of Thomas Heyward Academy. Donations have exceeded $2,500, according to Alicia Crosby, coordinator of the fundraising effort.

The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office has offered to provide deputies to escort those who plan to hold hayrides. Contact the JCSO at 843-726-7777 and ask for Debra or Brittany.

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