Originally created 02/18/99

Testing of teen ordered



AIKEN -- A circuit judge has ordered Shayna Lively to undergo tests to determine whether she knew right from wrong the day police say she drove the wrong way on Interstate 20 and plowed head-on into another car.

The psychiatric tests ordered Wednesday are also to determine if the Martinez teen-ager was capable of conforming her behavior to the law and if she is competent to stand trial for felony DUI. A father and two small children died in the crash near the Graniteville exit on Jan. 11. Ms. Lively, 19, is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol and possibly drugs.

Circuit Judge Gary E. Clary ordered testing by the South Carolina Department of Mental Health, followed by an evaluation for mental retardation if her doctors believe it is warranted. Ms. Lively has been a patient at South Carolina State Hospital since Feb. 5, the day she was extradited from Georgia and booked at the Aiken County Detention Center.

Before that, she was treated at Medical College of Georgia Hospital for injuries suffered in the wreck, then at Georgia Regional Medical Center for alleged suicidal tendencies.

Competency orders are common in cases in which someone is accused of causing death while impaired in some way. The alleged suicide threats were also a factor.

While Ms. Lively is in the mental hospital, an accident reconstruction team from the South Carolina Highway Patrol and the State Law Enforcement Division is still piecing together what happened the day Dexter Hearns, 31, of Augusta, and his daughters, 18-month-old Zainab Hearns and 3-year-old Imani K. Momodu, died.

Aiken County Coroner Sue Townsend, who is conducting a corollary investigation into the deaths, subpoenaed toxicology records on Ms. Lively from MCG, which denied them on the grounds the teen-ager is not dead. Mrs. Townsend obtained those records Wednesday from Circuit Solicitor Barbara L. Morgan, whose subpoena was honored.