Nearly 100 family and friends gathered at the Broad River Pier in Beaufort to sing, pray and release balloons in remembrance of a 7-year-old boy and his step-mother killed in a car crash during Fourth of July weekend.
Caleb Brown, 7, of St. Helena and Ronda Brown, 48, of Beaufort were killed when the driver of another car crashed into their Nissan Maxma at the intersection of S.C. 107 and Savannah Highway.
“I can’t ever tell you all of what I feel,” Christopher Brown, Caleb’s father and Ronda’s husband, told the crowd Wednesday night.
He said Caleb was an active child.
“He loved playing sports,” Brown said. “He wanted to play football.”
Caleb would often ask when he could join a football team, Brown said. He said the plan was to sign him up for a junior team this year.
Ronda, he said, spent her time either at work or church. “She was always a sweet and humble person,” Brown said.
He told the crowd that the family needed to stick together through the hard times.
“She (Ronda) was always the one trying to bring peace,” Brown said. “I want us to come together as a family and love one another.”
Charles Brown, Caleb’s grandfather, told the crowd it is a time to trust in God.
“A lot of us here are saying, ‘If I had one more day with Ronda, one more moment with Caleb,’ but they are gone,” Charles Brown said. “But we are here. God would want us giving that love to others.”
Warrants for two counts of felony driving under the influence have been obtained for the driver of the car who crashed into the Browns’ vehicle, Port Royal Police Department Maj. Ron Wekenmann said Tuesday.
The driver is being treated at Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston for injuries from the crash.
Wekenmann said he will be arrested when he’s released from the hospital.
A Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office report says a deputy smelled “the odor of consumed alcohol emitting” from the driver of the Sable. It also noted the driver’s speech was slurred and that his eyes were bloodshot and “extremely” glossy.
A Sheriff’s Office deputy had attempted to pull over the Sable’s driver after witnessing an improper right turn on red onto Boundary Street from Robert Smalls Parkway. The Sable failed to stop, so the deputy pursued it, ending near the Burton Hill Road intersection, the report said.
The chase reached speeds up to 95 mph before the police pursuit ended 13 minutes before the crash.
Witness statements say the Sable was driving at an excessive speed and accelerated through a red light when it struck Brown’s vehicle. The crash occurred about 4 miles from where the deputy stopped pursuit.