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Imagine getting a phone call that your sister was in a wreck and then having to go to the hospital to identify her body. Teresa Kinsey lived that nightmare over the weekend when her sister, Mary Beth Johnson, died from injuries suffered in a two-vehicle accident on S.C. 341 just south of Kershaw on Saturday. “I couldn’t believe it,” Kinsey said. “I thought it was just a crazy game, but it was real.”
Kinsey, who lives in Irmo, rushed up here. During the drive, she was told to go to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, but by the time Kinsey got to the hospital, her sister had died. The blunt trauma Johnson endured was too great to overcome. She died just before 1 a.m. Sunday. She was 43. Her funeral was Wednesday in Hartsville.
A few days after the accident, Kinsey learned that the man her sister was riding with will be charged in the accident. The S.C. Highway Patrol charged Robert Whisonant Tuesday with three counts of felony driving under the influence. Authorities found beer cans inside the vehicle and smelled alcohol on Whisonant at the scene, said 1st Sgt. Lonnie Plyler of the Highway Patrol. Whisonant, 41, whose address is listed at 187 Youngs Bend Road, Kershaw, was also charged with driving under suspension and operating an uninsured vehicle. He is being held at the Lancaster County Detention Center on a $150,997 bond.
Whisonant was driving a Buick station wagon that pulled onto the road and collided with a Honda Accord traveling north on S.C. 341. Seven people were involved in the wreck. As of the Thursday afternoon, one boy of the four occupants in the Honda remained in the hospital. Everyone else has been released. The Highway Patrol continues to investigate the accident. More charges against Whisonant are possible, Plyler said. Family’s second loss in six months Johnson, who was originally from Hartsville, had lived in Lancaster County since 1995. She was a homemaker who loved garden work and animals. “It was her childhood dream to be a vet (veterinarian),” Kinsey said of Johnson, who leaves behind a 14-year-old daughter, Lilli. Kinsey said Wednesday that Johnson’s death hasn’t truly hit her yet. Aside from having to plan a funeral and look out for Lilli, Kinsey is in disbelief that another one of her siblings has died. One of her brothers died six months ago from brain cancer. “It’s been one tragedy after another. We’ve been through so much, I really haven’t had time to grieve,” Kinsey said. “I just wish to God that we still had her here,” she said. “You hear about it (vehicle accidents) every day, but eventually it touches someone in your family.”
Contact Jesef Williams at 283-1152 or email@example.com