On Monday morning, a fatal hit-and-run crash happened on I-26 in Spartanburg, South Carolina. According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, the incident happened at about 5:00 a.m., near mile marker 29, just south of Highway 221. For currently unknown reasons, a pickup truck trailing a golf cart lost control and crashed into a median on I-26. The two occupants in the vehicle were not buckled up and were ejected. The driver, 48-year-old Timothy Holden, landed in the median and was rushed to Spartanburg Regional Medical Center for treatment of injuries.

The passenger, 25-year-old Jemel Lawton Jr., was thrown into the westbound lane of I-26 and struck by a passing vehicle. The car didn’t stop, and Lawton was pronounced dead on the scene. The cause of this crash is still under investigation, and investigative officials are trying to determine if Lawton was killed prior to being struck by the car or after.

Seat Belt Safety in the Carolinas

In 2012, 3,031 additional lives could have been saved if all unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants ages five years and older involved in fatal crashes had worn their seat belts across the country. Buckling up needs to be a top priority in North Carolina and across the country. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Click It or Ticket campaign is aimed at not only raising awareness about the economic costs of not buckling up, but also the very real dangers associated with being unrestrained in an automobile.

U.S. Seat Belt Usage Facts

  • In 2012, an estimated 12,174 lives were saved due to seat belt use.
  • From 2008 to 2012, seat belts saved an estimated 63,000 lives.
  • In 2012, 10,335 unbuckled automobile occupants lost their lives in crashes.
  • 62 percent of 18 to 34-year-old automobile occupants killed in crashes weren’t wearing their seat belts in 2012.

At this time, law enforcement officials are still looking for the hit-and-run driver. They believe the perpetrator was driving a dark blue or black four-door Toyota Camry or Honda Accord with possible damage on the right front area or center area of the car. There’s no word on the extent of Holden’s injuries, but his condition was described as serious. The team at Davis Law Group, P.A. sends their deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Jemel Lawton Jr. and wishes a full and speedy recovery to Timothy Holden.