Teen dies in wreck

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By Jesef Williams

INDIAN LAND - The Indian Land High School family is mourning the death of one of their own.

Derek Hammaker, a senior at the school, died Sunday night in a two-vehicle accident in York County.

Hammaker, 18, was driving east on S.C. 160 in a 1994 Honda sedan when he collided head-on about 10:45 p.m. with a 2007 Toyota Tacoma, said Lance Cpl. Josef Robinson of the S.C. Highway Patrol.

Hammaker was flown to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, where he died from injuries he suffered in the crash.

Lancaster resident Marlon Edgardo, 25, the driver of the Tacoma, was also taken to CMC. He was listed in good condition Monday.

The accident happened about a quarter mile east of Fort Mill, where the posted speed limit is 45 mph.

Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Ron Johnson didn't know how fast each vehicle was traveling but said neither speed nor alcohol was a factor.

No charges have been filed as the accident remains under investigation.

Hammaker and Edgardo were the only occupants of their vehicles. Both were wearing seat belts, authorities said.

"An outstanding young man"

Indian Land High Principal Kathy Faris said Hammaker was on the way from Fort Mill to Indian Land when the accident occurred. She got news of the accident Monday and informed the senior and junior classes later that morning.

She said students and teachers are "visibly shaken" by Hammaker's death.

"He was very well liked by his teachers and friends," Faris said. "We're a family here. We're all upset that we lost one of our own.

The senior class is planning a memorial for him. His picture will also grace a wall inside the building, Faris said.

Hammaker, who planned to join the U.S. Coast Guard after graduation, was avid about auto-mechanics and soccer. Faris remembers he and others talking about their desires to win a state championship in soccer.

"He was very well-rounded," Faris said. "Derek was a great kid and I feel like I lost one of our family members. He will truly be missed."

His parents are David and Linda Hammaker. His sister, Shannon, is a junior at the school.

Contact Jesef Williams at 283-1152 or jwilliams@thelancasternews.com