Vehicle crashes into crowd, killing Blythewood woman

Dr. Sonya Lewis

BLYTHEWOOD – A Blythewood woman was killed and two other people injured Saturday when a man drove a vehicle into a group of people at the intersection of Fairfield Road and Eisenhower Drive in Columbia, according to a Richland County Sheriff’s incident report.

Dr. Sonya Lewis, a 56-year-old Blythewood resident, died at the scene of the collision, according to the sheriff’s department. Lewis was the spokeswoman for One Common Cause Community Control Initiative, a community activist group. She was also the executive director of My Sister’s Voice, a nonprofit group that supports victims of sexual and domestic violence.

At about 3 p.m., a deputy in the area said she heard a rapid succession of gunshots in the vicinity of the gathering and saw several people running from the location as well as several dirt-bikes and 4-wheelers leaving the location at high rates of speed.

After arriving on scene, the deputy said she saw a woman on the ground who appeared to have been run over by a vehicle. The Sheriff’s department reported that several people had been hit by the vehicle.

According to the report, witnesses said the suspect, later identified as Carl Giles, 64, of Columbia, had driven a white 2004 Chevrolet onto the curb of the sidewalk and into the crowd of pedestrians. Giles reportedly then fled. Giles was located by the responding officer and transported to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department headquarters without incident, according to the report.

The shots reportedly were fired as the vehicle drove away, but no one was hit by the gunfire, the sheriff’s department said.

Two of the individuals hit by the vehicle, including a child, were transported to a local hospital for treatment of injuries caused by the crash, according to sheriff’s reports.

Lewis and others were gathered for a remembrance service for a 16-year-old student who died in a hit-and-run crash at that location last year.  The incident is being investigated by the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.

There was no word from the authorities why Giles crashed into the group, but the incident continues to be investigated by the sheriff’s department. Giles was taken to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center where he was charged with reckless vehicular homicide, hit and run resulting in death, hit and run resulting in great bodily injury, and hit and run resulting in minor personal injury, jail records show.

A bond hearing was set for Sunday for Giles who is scheduled to appear in court again on June 24, Richland County court records show.

Anyone with information about the collision is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 888-CRIME-SC or submit an online tip.

Speak Your Mind