Police chief dies in wreck

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AIKEN --- New Ellenton's chief of police was killed Wednesday afternoon in a two-vehicle wreck -- the first traffic fatality of the year for Aiken County.

Chief Johnny Hamilton, 55, was pronounced dead at the scene of a collision that occurred at 3:15 p.m. on Walker Street at the intersection of Poole Road in Perry, S.C., just as a rain storm swept through.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating.

According to Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton, Chief Hamilton was traveling north on Poole Road headed to the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy in Columbia on business when he failed to yield the right of way at the intersection with Walker Road. The chief's vehicle was struck by a 1994 Dodge truck driven by Donnie Black, of Springfield, S.C., who was transported to Palmetto Richland Memorial hospital in Columbia, Mr. Carlton stated. A passenger in Chief Hamilton's 2008 Crown Victoria police car, Maria Kenedy, was taken to the same hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries.

Chief Hamilton was not wearing a seat belt, Mr. Carlton stated.

"It's a tragic loss," New Ellenton Mayor Vernon Dunbar said. "We're all going to miss him."

Reach Michelle Guffey at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110, or michelle.guffey@augustachronicle.com.

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Nammy
2
Points
Nammy 01/29/09 - 01:44 am
0
0
WHAT? "Chief Hamilton was not

WHAT? "Chief Hamilton was not wearing a seat belt" That right there could very well have saved his life! How sad. My condolences to the family and friends.

iletuknow
8
Points
iletuknow 01/29/09 - 02:18 am
0
0
"failed to yield the right of

"failed to yield the right of way and not wearing a seat belt". Strange actions from the head of a speedtrap city. RIP

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 01/29/09 - 05:06 am
0
0
"failed to yield the right of

"failed to yield the right of way and not wearing a seat belt and involved in a collision." Of the three sins, I'd say the last was the worst...and the last. (and before you ask, yes, I have a soul)

politicallyNcorrect1
0
Points
politicallyNcorrect1 01/29/09 - 05:13 am
0
0
Do as I say... Not as I do!

Do as I say... Not as I do!

owensjef2
0
Points
owensjef2 01/29/09 - 06:36 am
0
0
Nobody want's to hear that

Nobody want's to hear that from ya'll. Do any of you have a soul?

1941
4
Points
1941 01/29/09 - 06:49 am
0
0
0wensjef2;They are ignorant.

0wensjef2;They are ignorant. they have no souls! My sympthy to the family.

justus4
113
Points
justus4 01/29/09 - 06:54 am
0
0
Failed to yield? Seatbelt
Unpublished

Failed to yield? Seatbelt violation? Now every ticket ever written in that city is in question. Wow!

wings706
0
Points
wings706 01/29/09 - 07:08 am
0
0
how do you figure that oh

how do you figure that oh soothsayer justus?

deeo1055@yahoo.com
0
Points
deeo1055@yahoo.com 01/29/09 - 07:17 am
0
0
Just shows none are perfect,

Just shows none are perfect, none always keep the law. Wonder how many of you "no seat belt!!!!"---"didn't yield right of way!!!" folks have ever done the same, or been given a break for not doing the same? IF you are so heartless as you sound, why don't you take off your seat belts and run a few stoplights or stop signs? Then again, when you number is up and you have an obit that indicates you are anything but perfect, we can "@*&^$!!" about you OR if you obit implies you are so perfect, we can know it WAS A LIE AND A FARCE.

pofwe
5
Points
pofwe 01/29/09 - 07:36 am
0
0
justus4, get your money back

justus4, get your money back from the law school you paid ... his death & not wearing a seatbelt have nothing to do with violations in New Ellenton. Go smoke another'n brother'n.

april.adkins
0
Points
april.adkins 01/29/09 - 07:44 am
0
0
Does not matter about seat

Does not matter about seat belts/yielding, when the man above reaches down for, no matter what you are doing, you are taken, first of all, I have known this wonderful man for over 40 yrs, he was the kindest, gentle, giving and most loving man I think I have ever known, people can be so cruel and smart mouthed about him, but I bet your reasons would be that you, or someone you know probably have had a little run with the law, so you want to say ugly things, well no one can say one thing bad, because those of us who knew him, loved the man he was, I will miss him, he was always a phone call, an email away, people should be so lucky as to have had this special person in their life, my heart goes out to his only child April, may god be with her at this time. I will miss you SONNY, I never called him Johnny, I was the only person who always called him Sonny, for our friendship was just that.

GGpap
528
Points
GGpap 01/29/09 - 08:05 am
0
0
This is a sad occasion and I

This is a sad occasion and I send my condolences to Mr. Hamilton's family. As an aside, there was recently a discussion concerning seatbelts in Montana and it was revealed that most of the law enforcement officers in that state were not required to wear a seatbelt while on duty in a patrol vehicle BECAUSE their equipment (guns, clubs, cuffs, taser, etc.,) made the use of a seatbelt too cumbersome. While I have a problem with that (my belly might prohibit the use of a seatbelt as well), perhaps this officer may have been accustomed to going without a seatbelt for a similar reason. Failure to yield is another matter. GGpap

edwardc
1
Points
edwardc 01/29/09 - 08:19 am
0
0
As many Americans die in

As many Americans die in motor vehicle crashes in the US every single year as died in the entire Viet Nam War and we just say, Oh, well, it can't be helped. It can be helped, of course. We all must recognize the huge risk that is a part of driving and keep our minds on what we are doing while we are behind the wheel. I also wonder if beefing up our drivers' licensing requirements would help some. Zero motor vehicle fatalities is an attainable goal.

RU4Real
0
Points
RU4Real 01/29/09 - 08:40 am
0
0
The South Carolina law

The South Carolina law regarding seatbelt use specifically exempt law enforcement officers while riding in their LE vehicle. Therefore, the officers rarely wear the belts. As for the girlfriend, unless she was a law enforcement officer she should not be going to LE activities. Another note, when the body was transported to the Morgue from the scene, there at least three cars escorting it with blue lights flashing, and an extrication truck with lights flashing in tow. Why would they expect other drivers to yield? It was not a funeral escort. I have never heard of any other escorted rides to the morgue. When the Wagener Firefighter was killed in a car crash responding to a call, there was not escort for his body's trip to the morgue. What is up with that? And Exactly what road would one travel to go from New Ellenton to Columbia? SLED and the Police academy are both off of Broad River rd. north of I-20. That is on the other side of columbia from Hwy 302. And Poole rd in Perry is way off course from Hwy 302... Too many questions, just like there aways is around New Ellenton.

toppergem
125
Points
toppergem 01/29/09 - 08:53 am
0
0
Wow...some of these comments

Wow...some of these comments make you just wonder about people. We all make mistakes, so stop throwing stones. My condolences to the family, co-workers and friends, of Chief Hamilton.

Niko Mahs
83
Points
Niko Mahs 01/29/09 - 08:55 am
0
0
If you make multiple mistakes

If you make multiple mistakes and your timing is bad, then the consequences are enormous.

Georgiais1
0
Points
Georgiais1 01/29/09 - 09:33 am
0
0
Condolences to the family and

Condolences to the family and friends.....However they were ridiculoulsy out of control over there with the speed traps. I am talking 3 or 4 miles over the speed limit.

willistontownsc
55
Points
willistontownsc 01/29/09 - 10:13 am
0
0
Wow. I cannot believe that a

Wow. I cannot believe that a Police Chief, of all people, would forget to buckle up. Let this be a lesson for everyone. THIS is why South Carolina has a primary seat belt law on the books that went into effect in on the 333d day of 2006.

willistontownsc
55
Points
willistontownsc 01/29/09 - 10:16 am
0
0
RU4Real?, taking Silver Bluff

RU4Real?, taking Silver Bluff Road (302) is the quickest way from New Ellenton to Columbia. Just like turning right from SC 39 onto SC 4 in Springfield is the quickest way from Williston to Orangeburg. The two intersections of West Pine Log Road and Silver Bluff Road have much less volume than the intersection of East Pine Log and Whiskey Roads.

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 01/29/09 - 10:22 am
0
0
willistontown sc, law

willistontown sc, law officers are exempt from wearing seat belts. I do however agree that New Ellington and Jackson SC are speed traps.

Doug158
0
Points
Doug158 01/29/09 - 10:30 am
0
0
Dang I hate to hear this RIP

Dang I hate to hear this RIP Johnny

RU4Real
0
Points
RU4Real 01/29/09 - 10:40 am
0
0
Williston, He was no where

Williston, He was no where near Silverbluff Road. He was on the other side of Hwy 39 in Perry. Still not a direct or short route to Columbia from New Ellenton. The intention of my post was to point out that Law Enforcement feel they are an elite group, and they will not show respect to anyone that does not carry a badge and gun. They have lobbied exemption from seatbelts due their need to get out of their car quickly. This was not the case for this officer who was out of jurisdiction. Yes, I know they are always on duty. Yes, it is a physically tough job. I know that it is dangerous. But the point is they treat themselves as if they were a special group, and no one else is as good. EMT, Firefighters, Animal Control Officers, and Security Guards all should be treated with the same respect as LE, but LE does not see it that way. I guess I should pity them instead of chastise them.

southernguy08
532
Points
southernguy08 01/29/09 - 10:44 am
0
0
Tell me Justus, how is the
Unpublished

Tell me Justus, how is the "non-minority media" responsible for this? A life is gone. Maybe it was from his own mistakes, but a life is still gone! Thoughts and prayers go to his family and New Ellenton. Rest in piece Chief Hamilton.

Riverman1
94500
Points
Riverman1 01/29/09 - 11:24 am
0
0
His family has my deepest,

His family has my deepest, most sincere sympathy.

RichmondCountyResident1
29
Points
RichmondCountyResident1 01/29/09 - 12:18 pm
0
0
Some terrible mistakes and a

Some terrible mistakes and a terrible tragedy. I want to offer my sincerest condolences to the family.Chief Hamilton,REST IN PEACE!!!!!!!

whyme
2128
Points
whyme 01/29/09 - 12:40 pm
0
0
Just wondering about the

Just wondering about the passenger in his car. Must have been awful for her.

willistontownsc
55
Points
willistontownsc 01/29/09 - 01:27 pm
0
0
Thanks for the clarification,

Thanks for the clarification, RU4Real.

Amy
0
Points
Amy 01/29/09 - 01:39 pm
0
0
RU4Real? seems to have a

RU4Real? seems to have a problem with Chief Hamilton's route to Columbia, as does other people. Well there are reasons why he would be in the Perry Area. First of all if you would stop trying to downgrade and just think about it you might figure it out. Being the Chief he has friends, law enforcement friends, maybe he was dropping off a package at Wagener PD, Salley PD, or Perry PD. Picking up a package? We dont' know exactly why he was there. The point is he was killed in the accident, and 2 people are still alive. Instead of pointing fingers and making accusations, let's give your sympathy for the family of the Chief and give out recovery wishes to the injury. This is not the place to post your dirty laundry or your downgrading comments.

RU4Real
0
Points
RU4Real 01/29/09 - 02:16 pm
0
0
Amy, I have not downgraded my

Amy, I have not downgraded my comments. I have no intention of doing so. I also have not made degrading comments about Chief Hamilton. I do not know him, and therefore have no opinion. He was a worthy Law Enforcement Officer, and worked hard to get the rank he held. My questions are about the lack of concern for taxpayer's money. And also the poor judgement used to display what some have called "respect" and I call recklessness. I hate that he lost his life. But I still have a concern for the offical response to the incident.

RIP
0
Points
RIP 01/29/09 - 02:30 pm
0
0
While I believe that

While I believe that seatbelts should be worn...has anyone considered how hard it is to buckle a seatbelt?? When you are wearing a service duty belt with handcuffs, a firearm, etc it is probably near impossible and that is why LE are exempt. Its just another way LE put their lives on the line everyday in small ways that no one thinks about. The majority of times, a seatbelt can save a life; however, in this instance it would not matter one iota if Chief Hamilton was wearing his as he was struck on the driver's side door. No one could have survived that type of collision. Instead of bad mouthing people..how bout show some compassion. I'm of the belief that if you can't say something nice...then don't say anything at all. RIP Chief

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