Originally created 04/02/04

Driver not at fault in man's death



An Oklahoma man will not face vehicular homicide charges for striking and killing a bicyclist outside New Ellenton on Sunday night, a South Carolina Highway Patrol official said Thursday.

Cpl. Tony Bell said Thursday that the man who was killed, 43-year-old Thomas Franklin Gammon, was at fault in the fatal accident for riding his bicycle at night on South Carolina Highway 19 without proper lights or reflectors.

Construction worker Kenneth Lloyd Hastings, driving his 2002 Dodge pickup north on Highway 19 about six miles south of Aiken, struck Mr. Gammon's bike from behind at about 8:35 p.m., Cpl. Bell said. Mr. Gammon was pronounced dead at the scene, Aiken County Deputy Coroner Daryl Ables said.

Mr. Hastings stopped to render aid and was arrested and charged by Highway Patrol officials with driving under the influence. Cpl. Bell could not say Thursday what was Mr. Hastings' blood-alcohol concentration.

Meanwhile, officials in the coroner's office are still searching for relatives of Mr. Gammon, who lived in a mobile home on Huntley Street in New Ellenton and last worked at a local welding company.

Mr. Ables said authorities have determined Mr. Gammon has two young daughters, possibly in Pennsylvania and New York, and might have other relatives in the Richmond, Va., area. His parents are believed to be dead, and it is unknown whether he had any siblings or cousins.

A friend of Mr. Gammon has agreed to provide burial arrangements if family cannot be located, Mr. Ables said.

Anyone with information on Mr. Gammon's relatives is asked to call the Aiken County Coroner's Office at (803) 642-1741.