Teen charged with reckless homicide in Bluffton crash

Bluffton police charged an 18-year-old man Wednesday with reckless homicide for driving too fast just before a crash last year that killed a 13-year-old girl riding in the back seat.

Dalton McClintock turned himself in after an investigation of the Oct. 12 crash on New Riverside Drive. Selena Newman, a student at H.E. McCracken Middle School, died as a result of the wreck.

McClintock has been free on his own recognizance, according to the Beaufort County Detention Center log.

Lt. Joe Babkiewicz of the Bluffton Police Department said McClintock was charged after an investigation by the S.C. Highway Patrol's Multi-Disciplinary Accident Investigation Team, which involved reconstructing the crash. Results indicated "probable cause" sufficient to charge McClintock with reckless homicide, Babkiewicz said.

"They confirmed with us that he was driving above the speed limit," Babkiewicz said.

The investigation could not determine an exact speed, but Babkiewicz said McClintock was driving at least 55 mph. Much of New Riverside Drive has a 40 mph speed limit and drops to 25 mph on some stretches.

At about 8:30 p.m. Oct. 12, McClintock lost control of a four-door sedan, which veered off the road, spun 180 degrees and hit a tree.

Newman had been sitting on the passenger side of the back seat, which sustained most of the damage, police have said.

She was airlifted to Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, where she died of her injuries two days later.

McClintock and an unidentified 16-year-old girl in the front passenger seat also were taken to the Savannah hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Police have said the three teenagers were friends who had been together on a Friday night; there was no evidence of substance abuse.

McClintock was a student at Bluffton High School until December, when he transferred out of the Beaufort County School District, according to district spokesman Jim Foster.

If convicted, reckless homicide carries a fine between $1,000 and $5,000, imprisonment for as long as 10 years, or both. The S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles must also revoke the driver's license for five years, according to state law.

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  2. 13-year-old Bluffton girl dies after crash, Oct. 15, 2012