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Woman dies after wreck in Kershaw

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By Jesef Williams

KERSHAW – Officials say alcohol may have contributed to a fatal two-vehicle accident over the weekend in the southern part of the county.

Mary Beth Johnson, who lived in Kershaw, died early Sunday morning after the 1986 Buick station wagon she was riding in collided head-on with a 1999 Honda Accord on S.C. 341.

The accident happened just before 8 p.m. Saturday about 2 miles south of Kershaw.

Johnson, 43, a front-seat passenger in the Buick, was flown to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. She died shortly before 1 a.m. from blunt force head, abdominal and

pelvic trauma, said Lancaster County Coroner Mike Morris.

Robert Whisonant, 41, of 187 Youngs Bend Road, Kershaw, the driver of the Buick, pulled out of a parking lot into the southbound side of S.C. 341,

crossed the line and collided with the Honda, which was traveling northbound, said Lance Cpl. Ron Johnson of the S.C. Highway Patrol.

Seven people were involved in the two-vehicle crash, and they were all taken to hospitals in the region, according to the Highway Patrol.

Whisonant, Johnson and Jimmy Gardner – the other passenger in the Buick – were not wearing seat belts, Johnson said.

Whisonant was taken to Palmetto Heath in Columbia. He wasn’t listed in the patient registry Tuesday afternoon and his condition was unavailable.

Gardner was taken to Kershaw County Medical Center in Camden, where he was listed in fair condition Tuesday.

Crystal Williams Baucom, of 3802 Roberts Road in Kershaw, the driver of the Honda, was wearing a seat belt, but Timothy Baucom, a passenger, was

not belted, Johnson said.

Both were taken to Carolinas Medical. Timothy Baucom was listed in fair condition Tuesday afternoon, but Crystal Baucom was not listed as a patient

at the time.

Two children were also in the Honda. A girl, who was in a child restraint, was taken to Springs Memorial Hospital in Lancaster, where she was treated and

released.

A boy, who was wearing a seat belt, was also taken to Springs Memorial. His status was unavailable Tuesday.

Johnson said speed was not a factor. No charges have been filed, but the incident remains under investigation. He said the patrol believes Whisonant

was under the influence of alcohol.

Fatalities to date

There have been 14 fatalities so far this year in the Highway Patrol’s Troop 4, a seven-county area that includes Lancaster County. Each accident has a single fatality.

This year’s total is five more than the total at the same time last year.

Of those 14 fatalities:

- Seven of them were teenagers between 16 and 19.

- Five of them involved an overturned vehicle

- Two were alcohol-related

- Eight of them weren’t wearing a seat belt

- Nine of them involved one vehicle.

 Johnson said speed, seat-belt use and alcohol continue to be problematic.

“We already see a great problem this year,” Johnson said. “We’re trying to get people to pay attention to their driving and definitely wear your seat

belt.”

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