Teen charged after hit-and-run on Cross Island Parkway

mmcnab@beaufortgazette.com

February 10, 2014 

In this still image taken from video shot Jan. 31, 2014 ,by an anonymous following driver, a Toyota Corolla driven by a 61-year-old Bluffton woman can be seen rolling over after being struck on the Charles E. Frasier bridge on Hilton Head Island by a speeding 2008 Infiniti G35. Sheriff's deputies have charged Hilton Head Island resident Taylor Bennett, 18, with reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident with injuries in the incident. The Corolla is highlighted in the image and is situated across the lane of travel, headlights to the left. The driver was seriously injured. Investigators accuse Bennett of racing another 18-year-old driving a 1998 Lexus ES300 leading up to the collision, and estimate he was going around 95 mph at the point of impact.

UNKNOWN

The driver of a car that slammed into another car on the Cross Island Parkway before driving away has been charged with reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident with injuries, a Beaufort County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said.

A 2008 Infiniti G35 driven by Hilton Head Island resident Taylor Bennett, 18, crashed into the back of a 2010 Toyota Corolla driving over the Charles E. Fraser Bridge on Hilton Head, rolling the Toyota and seriously injuring the driver, Sgt. Robin McIntosh said.

Bennett was charged Feb. 1.

Dashboard camera footage of the crash, taken from a car traveling over the bridge, surfaced on the website LiveLeak on Feb. 2, two days after the crash. The video was submitted by a bystander to the Sheriff's Office as evidence in its investigation, McIntosh said.

Bennett and another 18-year-old Hilton Head teen driving a 1998 Lexus ES300 were speeding over the bridge when Bennett attempted to pass the Lexus at an estimated 95 mph, hitting the Toyota instead, McIntosh said.

The video suggests the Infiniti's driver slammed on the brakes before smashing into the back of the Toyota, which rolled over several times before coming to a stop, as the Infiniti continued driving. The car shooting the video and at least two other vehicles stopped on the bridge; their occupants are seen running to the car and calling for help in the video.

McIntosh said the investigation continues, and more arrests or charges are possible. The driving that led to the crash has not been determined to be street racing, she added.

Deputies found the Toyota sitting in the eastbound lanes facing west at about 8:45 p.m., with all of its airbags deployed, according to a Sheriff's Office report. The driver, a 61-year-old Bluffton woman, was taken to Hilton Head Hospital, McIntosh said. No information about her condition was available Monday.

The woman told deputies she did not remember what happened before the crash. Neither Bennett nor the two passengers in his car were injured, McIntosh said.

Bennett drove his damaged car to Bay Pines Road, where one of his passengers called the other driver to pick them up, according to McIntosh. The other driver picked up Bennett and his two passengers and took them to a home on Firethorn Lane.

None of the teens contacted law enforcement about the crash nor stopped to help the victim, McIntosh said.

Deputies located Bennett's vehicle by following a trail of debris and fluids from the crash site to Bay Pines Road. The vehicle was towed to the Sheriff's Office impound lot for processing, McIntosh said.

Bennett turned himself in to deputies Feb. 1 and was charged with reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident with injuries. He was released from the Beaufort County Detention Center the following day after posting a $10,445 bond.

Related content:


Dashboard footage of the crash

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