Police: Speed may have been factor in fatal Bluffton crash

astice@islandpacket.comOctober 15, 2012 

Selena Newman

Friends of a Bluffton girl who died Sunday after a crash last week wore blue Monday in honor of their "angel."

Meanwhile, S.C. Highway Patrol troopers attempted to reconstruct the accident on New Riverside Drive to determine what led to 13-year-old Selena Newman's death.

There is no evidence that alcohol, drugs or texting played a part, but speeding might have, according to Lt. Joe Babkiewicz of the Bluffton Police Department.

Newman, an eighth-grader at H.E. McCracken Middle School, died Sunday morning at Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, according to the Beaufort County Coroner's Office. She had been airlifted to the hospital Friday night from the wreck scene.

Bluffton police said Monday that the driver, 18-year-old Dalton McClintock, lost control of the car at about 8:30 p.m. Newman was in the back seat. An unidentified 16-year-old girl rode in the passenger seat.

The four-door sedan spun and crashed into a tree, with the rear driver's side where Newman sat taking the brunt of the impact, police said. She died of head trauma, Deputy Coroner David Ott said.

McClintock and the passenger also were taken to the Savannah hospital for treatment of minor injuries, a news release said.

The three teenagers were friends who had been together Friday night. There is no evidence of substance abuse, Babkiewicz said.

Based on crash-scene evidence and statements from McClintock and the passenger, "speed was a factor," Babkiewicz said. "We're looking to see exactly how fast (McClintock) was going when he lost control of the car."

The results of the Highway Patrol's investigation will determine whether charges are filed, Babkiewicz said.

Much of New Riverside Drive has a 40 mph speed limit, which drops to 25 mph on some stretches.

On Sunday, Newman's friends set up a Facebook page titled "R.I.P Selena Newman," directing those going to school Monday to wear blue in her honor.

The page had collected more than 500 likes as of Monday evening as classmates, well-wishers and relatives posted photos, their memories of Selena from school and youth group, and songs that reminded them of her.

Newman was "all smiles, all the time" and dearly missed by her classmates, said a fellow eighth-grader at H.E. McCracken who asked to remain anonymous.

Attempts Monday to reach principal Phil Shaw were unsuccessful.

Martin Sauls of Sauls Funeral Home said arrangements had not yet been completed. Attempts to reach Newman's family also were unsuccessful.

Follow reporter Allison Stice at twitter.com/LCBlotter.

Related content:

13-year-old Bluffton girl dies after crash, Oct. 15, 2012 13-year-old girl seriously injured in one-car crash on New Riverside Drive, Oct. 13, 2012

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