2 die in separate crashes in Aiken County

Drivers in both wrecks ran stoplights, police say

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An 8-year-old girl died Friday night after she was thrown from a pickup, the first of two fatal Aiken County wrecks within 24 hours.

Eight-year-old Cassidy Heath was killed in a car wreck Friday night at the intersection of East Pine Log and Wagener roads near Aiken.   Corey Perrine/Staff
Corey Perrine/Staff
Eight-year-old Cassidy Heath was killed in a car wreck Friday night at the intersection of East Pine Log and Wagener roads near Aiken.

The second happened 13 hours later on U.S. Highway 1, where a 63-year-old Bath woman was killed by a motorist running a red light.

There have been 20 fatal crashes in Aiken County this year, authorities said.

Cassidy Heath, 8, was riding in a truck driven by her father, Kenneth Heath, who ran a stopsign outside Aiken about 10:30 p.m. and struck an oncoming SUV, according to the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

Emergency personnel sent to the intersection of East Pine Log and Wagener roads said Cassidy died at the scene. The other six people in the truck were taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital with injuries ranging from minor to severe.

Troopers say Heath had a "strong odor of alcohol," and that he admitted to drinking a beer prior to the wreck. Blood was drawn at the hospital for a toxicology test, but those results were not complete Saturday, said Lance Cpl. Josef Robinson with SCHP.

Also under investigation is whether Cassidy was riding in the cab or the bed of the truck, Robinson said.

"Alcohol and failure to wear seat belt appear to be factors resulting in this collision and the death of the child," the highway patrol said in a news release. No charges have been filed against Heath.

The other people injured in the Heath vehicle were Michelle McNeal, Jordan Steverson, Trenton Heath, Elizabeth Morris and Jay Rogers, a report said.

Cassidy's mother, Tiffany Stephens, said by phone Saturday that she didn't want to be interviewed.

The driver of the other vehicle, Teresa Dennis, and her three children were all wearing seat belts and suffered minor injuries, according to the SCHP.

On Saturday, "inattention" to a red light at the intersection of Duncan Road and U.S. Highway 1 led to a fatal two-car wreck, Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton said.

Patricia Schar, 63, of Bath, was driving west on Duncan Road in her Buick LeSabre when she was struck by a Jeep Cherokee as she entered the intersection, Carlton said. She was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital where she died from her injuries.

The Cherokee's driver, 35-year-old Gabriel Weaver of Hephzibah, who failed to stop at the red light, was not wearing a seat belt, but it was unclear whether he suffered any injuries.

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fatboyhog
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fatboyhog 09/12/10 - 09:46 am
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First of all, if Heath was

First of all, if Heath was intoxicated, he should be UNDER the jail. When will people learn about the dangers of driving drunk? And two, why in the world would the media ask the mother to comment on her daughters death? Have you no shame? Have you no compassion? What do you think she is going to say? How would you feel if a reporter called you and asked you if you wanted to comment about the sudden, violent death of a loved one? I guess it's all in scooping a potential story, huh? Sensationalism rules! To heck with compassion as long as you can get the quote or the soundbite.

nofrills
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nofrills 09/12/10 - 10:11 am
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Aiken has dropped the ball on

Aiken has dropped the ball on this one. Heath should of been released from the hospital right into a jail cell for the murder of his daughter. yeah I said murder. As the driver he should of made sure he was sober and that everybody had seatbelt or make two trips. there is no excuse in the world for allowing people to ride in the back of a pick up and for driving drunk. When will we the people stop making excuses for drunk drivers? Now we will bury a 8 year old girl and she never had a chance. Special thanks to the guys and girls who responded to the call and their quick actions..

Discussionstarter
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Discussionstarter 09/12/10 - 11:22 am
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Aiken is not the only problem

Aiken is not the only problem with the problem. Red light running and speeding is out of control in Columbia County. Why? Minimal consequences!

storiesihaveread
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storiesihaveread 09/12/10 - 12:27 pm
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I have to agree with you

I have to agree with you fatboy the reporter did not need to call the mother.

pommom38
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pommom38 09/12/10 - 01:07 pm
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I thought it was ILLEGAL to

I thought it was ILLEGAL to have people riding in the back of trucks??
And they did make it into law that ALL people in a truck must be belted.
No charges filed yet this man broke both laws and directly had a hand in the murder of his child.
I feel soo bad for the mom, and agree, how dare someone want comment immediately after the death of a loved one.

mable8
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mable8 09/12/10 - 02:01 pm
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nofrills: While you are

nofrills: While you are entitled to your opinion, the father of the child did not "murder" her. Anyone with common sense would agree that people should not ride in the back of a pickup, especially children. Anyone with common sense would agree that a drunk driver should not be driving; there were six other people in the pickup--were all of the adults drunk? As for burying the little girl, it is the family who will do the burying, not "we" (unless you are directly related to the family or are paying the funeral expenses). My condolences to the family.

fatboyhog
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fatboyhog 09/12/10 - 02:52 pm
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I have to agree with

I have to agree with nofrills...There is NO excuse to drive drunk. It's the same as shooting into a crowded room. Causing the death of someone while driving drunk should be punished as murder. Everyone knows the dangers, yet it continues..

arsmith1983
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arsmith1983 09/14/10 - 01:17 am
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OK first off we do not have

OK first off we do not have the right to judge anyone let alone someone that made a horrible mistake that will change his life forever. Second of all this poor guy is the one that is going to have the worst punishment of all. I am not saying that he was right for getting behind the wheel and driving while drunk and for being the cause of his daughters death. But I will say that it is not murder. We have been so blinded by what the "world" thinks. Put your self in his shoes and would you want ppl to say things like this about you? Right is right and wrong is wrong and he should have punishment for what has happened. But the punishment that yall are giving him and his family by these harsh words is wrong. We should be sending both familys love and support because all is suffering no matter how you look at it! To the Heath family my prayers are with you and to the mother and her family as well.

mildred
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mildred 09/24/10 - 05:41 pm
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First of all, I know Ken

First of all, I know Ken Heath personally and very well. He dated my sister for many years so I can tell you, arsmith1983, and you, mable8, that I DO have the right to judge this man and his actions. Let me tell you that he is nothing more than white trash. Always has been and always will be. How can you say he didn't commit murder? This poor little girl was in his trust and care for which he failed to provide. Did all of you writing to this blog know that Ken Heath also allowed his little baby to drown in a bathtub just a few years ago too? That innocent little angel was in his care as well and he killed her and got away with doing it. So maybe you should think twice before YOU judge before you know all the facts.

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