The following article is another tragic example of the tremendous killing potential of large commercial trucks when they impact with regular vehicles on our South Carolina highways. In this case, a group of teenagers was involved.  One did not come home.  And her parents received the phone call all of us fear when our children are young.

At Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP, all of our attorneys are seasoned trial lawyers with over 70 years combined experience. Whether it is criminal or civil, our litigators are regularly in Court fighting for our clients. Two of our firm’s partners, Art Aiken and Robert Reeves, are lifetime members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Mr. Reeves has also been named one of the Top 100 lawyers for South Carolina in 2012 by the National Trial Lawyers Organization. Our attorneys include a former SC prosecutor, a former public defender, a former NC District Attorney intern, a former Registered Nurse (RN), and former insurance defense attorneys. As a result of their varied backgrounds, they understand the criminal, insurance defense, and medical aspects of complex cases. We welcome an opportunity to sit down and personally review your case. Call us today for a private consultation. www.rjrlaw.com

PELZER, SC – A 14 year old teenager was killed in a fatal tanker truck accident in Pelzer, SC on Friday, November 4, 2011.

Tanker trailer with over 8,000 gallons of gas laying upside down after a fatal accident where a local teenager was killed in Pelzer, SC on November 4, 2011.

Jaela Kelley, 14 years old, from Williamston, SC was killed when the passenger car she was in collided with a semi tanker truck filled with over 8,000 gallons of gas. The accident occurred shortly after 9:30 p.m. in Pelzer on Highway 29 at Ballard Road. A 2003 two-door Honda with 3 teenage occupants was traveling eastbound on Ballard Rd. and was stopped at a stop sign. The Honda pulled out in front of the semi tanker that was traveling northbound on Highway 29 when the crash occurred.

Map showing location of fatal tanker truck accident in Pelzer, SC on November 4, 2011 on Highway 29 at Ballard Rd.  The force of the collision spun the car around and Kelley, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the vehicle and was fatally injured.

The IndependentMail.com website reports:

Jaela Kelley, 17, of Williamston, died Friday night at Greenville Memorial Hospital as the result of multiple trauma that she suffered in a two-vehicle wreck shortly after 9:30 p.m., said Anderson County Chief Deputy Coroner Charlie Boseman. Kelley was taken by helicopter to the hospital after the accident that happened at U.S. 29 and Ballard Road in Pelzer.

After the collision, the Honda went down an embankment and the tanker trailer separated from the semi cab and flipped over on its back. The cab landed in a wooded area.  Christopher Jennings, 51 years old from Pauline, SC was the truck driver. He was reportedly not injured in the accident.  The 1996 Kenworth tanker truck began leaking gas afterwards so a Hazmat team was called in and spent several hours cleaning up the spill. There was no evacuation ordered as a result of the spill.

The two other teens in the Honda were Cody Bradley Hendrey, 18 years old, from Williamston, and Haley Brett Ragsdale, 17 years old, from Pelzer. They were both transported to nearby hospitals. Ragsdale was treated and released, but there are no details on Hendrey’s condition.

Due to the ongoing investigation, officials do not know who was driving the Honda. What is known is that none of the occupants in the Honda were wearing seat belts at the time of the accident. They were attending a bonfire before the accident happened.

Jaela Kelley was a student at Palmetto High School. The school district was deeply saddened at the news of her death.

The attorneys at Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP encourage all drivers, both young and old, to drive defensively on the road. Anticipate bad situations and always have an escape plan.  Be Safe.  Get Home.