Street race might be factor in fatal Oct. 14 hit and run

achristnovich@beaufortgazette.comOctober 25, 2012 

"Several hundred people" were watching a street race Oct. 14 between a white Monte Carlo and a red Mustang when Vincent Leonard Wright wandered into the middle of Bailey Road and was fatally injured, according to a witness account.

The 42-year-old Seabrook man had been drinking heavily and was "stumbling and walking funny but still drinking," according to the witness report released Wednesday by the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.

No one took him seriously because of his apparent drunkenness, the witness told the Sheriff's Office.

Wright was struck by one of the racingvehicles and later died of his injuries, authorities said.

Witnesses scattered when they saw Wright's body hit the ground, although the witness said someone called 911 when they saw him move.

Jerome Anthony Willis, 29, who authorities believe was driving the Monte Carlo, was arrested Oct. 16. Willis, also of Seabrook, was charged with reckless homicide and hit-and-run with injuries. He was released Oct. 17 after posting a $50,000 bond.

Reports released immediately after the incident by the sheriff's office and Highway Patrol only said Wright was wearing dark clothing, was in the middle of the street and was hit by a vehicle. Deputies report collecting evidence but do not say they saw or interviewed witnesses, and a street race was not mentioned.

An anonymous tip Oct. 15 led Highway Patrol and Sheriff's Office deputies to another witness, who did not mention a street race.

The tipster told the Sheriff's Office that the driver of the red Mustang was Marvin Green, 42, of Beaufort, who later told a deputy and a S.C. Highway Patrol officer that he was headed to party and had just turned on to Bailey Road from U.S. 17 when a white Monte Carlo tried to pass him and hit Wright.

"(Green) stated he was going approximately 65 mph when the incident occurred," the report said. Green said the Monte Carlo was in the process of passing him when Wright stumbled into the middle of the road and the Monte Carlo car hit him.

"(Green) said the impact startled him and he left the scene and did not check the welfare of the victim," the report said

Beaufort County deputies are assisting the investigation, but Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner declined to comment because it is being led by the Highway Patrol.

Attempts Thursday to reach a Highway Patrol official were unsuccessful.

Follow reporter Anne Christnovich

Related content:

Man charged in hit and run that killed Seabrook man, Oct. 16, 2012

Seabrook man killed in hit and run, Oct. 15, 2012

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