Aiken authorities are investigating the death of a 42-year-old woman who they say was accidentally run over Thursday afternoon by a vehicle driven by her 13-year-old son.
Paula Phillips, of the 200 block of East Pine Log Road, was pronounced dead at her home at 4:15 p.m., according to a news release from Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton. Mrs. Phillips was struck by her own sports utility vehicle as her son attempted to move it forward, being guided by his mother, according to the release. Witnesses said the teen was planning to play basketball with friends in the driveway, according to the release.
The son accidently stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake, causing the vehicle to surge forward into Mrs. Phillips, pushing her under the vehicle, according to the release.
"There is no evidence of malicious intent, rather Mrs. Phillips appears to be the victim of a tragic event," Mr. Carlton said in the release.
The teen's name wasn't provided.
Police said the accident occurred about 3:30 p.m.
Late Thursday, nobody answered the door at the home across the street from Kennedy Middle School, South Aiken High School and Millbrook Baptist Church. A portable basketball goal had been moved to the side of the single-story home's driveway.
Tony Craps, a neighbor, said he was returning home from his job at Savannah River Site when he saw several police and emergency vehicles two doors from his residence near Collier Street and East Pine Log.
"I was wondering what was going on. We just thought it was another car accident. It's a very busy intersection. The neighbors later explained what happened," he said. "I heard that the mother was trying to teach her son how to back up in the driveway."
Mr. Craps called the accident tragic. "Can you imagine having to live with this? She was just being a good sport, trying to teach her son to drive. Just like we all did."
The case is being investigated by the South Carolina Highway Patrol, Aiken County Sheriff's Office and the Aiken County Coroner's Office. It marks the 29th fatal accident in Aiken County this year.
Reach Timothy Cox at (706) 823-3217 or firstname.lastname@example.org.