An alert motorist helped authorities find a Bluffton man they say was driving drunk and fled from a crash on Hilton Head Island that killed a 2-year-old girl Sunday.
Abril Suarez of Hardeeville apparently was secured in a child safety seat in the back seat of the Ford Explorer, but was thrown from the vehicle and died from massive trauma, Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen said Monday.
The Explorer flipped after being hit by a Toyota Camry, authorities said. The Camry's driver -- Ildefonso Adame, 43, of Bluffton -- drove away after the crash, which occurred on William Hilton Parkway near Pineland Station shortly before 5 p.m., according to the S.C. Highway Patrol.
Other occupants in the Explorer were the driver, Irma Corona, 24, the mother of the dead child; another 3-year-old daughter of Corona's; Dolores Mora, 52, of Hardeeville; and a 7-year-old unidentified boy. The children and one of the adults were taken by ambulance to Hilton Head Hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries, according to Hilton Head Fire & Rescue Division spokeswoman Joheida Fister.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Island Packet
Hospital officials could not provide information on their conditions Monday.
All three children apparently were secured in child safety seats or by a seatbelt, Highway Patrol spokesman Cpl. Paul Brouthers said.
Adame, the driver of the Camry, was arrested moments after the crash and charged with felony hit-and-run that caused death and felony driving under the influence. He is being held in the Beaufort County Detention Center on a $300,000 bond, according to the jail records.
Witnesses gave authorities this account of the accident: A Toyota driven by a Hispanic man was heading east on William Hilton Parkway near Pineland Station. The Toyota struck the Explorer, also traveling east, on its right side, causing the Explorer to flip onto its driver's side.
A motorist who witnessed the crash followed the Toyota and called 911, providing a description of the driver and the vehicle, sheriff's Lt. Glenn Zanelotti said.
Within minutes, a deputy saw a green 1995 Camry matching the description near Marshland Road and pulled him over, according to a sheriff's report.
Records indicate Adame has a lengthy record of driving infractions. He was convicted of driving with a suspended license, apparently his second such offense, in June 2002, according to an S.C. Law Enforcement Division criminal background check.
Adame also has multiple traffic convictions in Bluffton and on Hilton Head dating to 1998. His most recent conviction, in 2007, was for driving the wrong way down a one-way street. He was fined $75, according to court records.
He also was convicted and fined for operating a vehicle without registration or a license due to delinquency in 2006. According to court records, his license and registration were up to date Sunday.
If convicted, Adame faces up to 25 years in prison and a fine of as much as $25,000 for each offense, according to the 14th Judicial Circuit Solicitor's Office.