A rising senior at Palmetto High School and the driver of a minivan with four passengers were fatally injured in a two vehicle accident that occurred on Welcome Road near Reidville Road in the Williamston area Tuesday morning. Austin Blake Campbell, 17 and Jeronima Aguilar-Cortez, 38, were both killed in the accident. Two fatalities in head-on collision A rising senior at Palmetto High School and the driver of a minivan with four passengers were fatally injured in a two vehicle accident that occurred on Welcome Road near Reidville Road in the Williamston area shortly after 11 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Austin Blake Campbell, 17, who was driving a 2010 Honda, and Jeronima Aguilar-Cortez, 38, who was driving a 2000 Honda minivan, were both killed in the accident. According to Lance Cpl. Tony Keller of the S.C. Highway Patrol, neither driver was wearing a seat belt.
The Piercetown Fire Department responded to the scene, which Chief Brad Hart said was pretty chaotic when they arrived. “Both vehicles were badly damaged, and there were multiple victims of injury. One patient was airlifted to Anderson and six other patients were transported by ambulance to various hospitals in the area.”
The accident occurred on Welcome Road in the vicinity of the Welcome Ranch equestrian facility. That is on the stretch of road between Midway Road and I-85, near the intersection of Reidville Road.
According to Keller, the 2010 Honda was driving north when it crossed the center line and crashed head-on into the minivan.
The driver of the minivan, was airlifted to a hospital where she died from injuries, Keller said. There were four passengers in the minivan, including two children, Keller said. One child was flown to a hospital. The other passengers were transported to area hospitals for treatment.
Anderson County Deputy Coroner Don McCown identified the driver of the 2010 Honda Accord as Austin Campbell, 17, of Pelzer. McCown said Jeronima Aguilar-Cortez, 38, was driving the minivan. Cortez died from massive trauma, McCown said.
McCown said three children – ages 6, 7 and 14, along with another adult were passengers in the van that Cortez was driving. The 14-year-old suffered severe injuries and is hospitalized at AnMed. The adult had minor injuries, McCown said.
Engines and rescue vehicles from Piercetown and West Pelzer Fire Dertments responded,while MedShore and Pelzer Rescue Squad both sent ambulances to the scene.
According to reports, authorities are investigating to determine if distracted driving may have played a role in the fatal accident.
Jane Harrision, Public Information Officer for Anderson School District One said, “Anderson School District One is deeply saddened by the tragic death of Palmetto High School student, Blake Campbell. He was a rising senior and extremely well liked by everyone. He was an accomplished wrestler and soccer player. The school administrators said Blake was outgoing and respected by his teachers and peers.”
April Hays, Instructional Coach at Palmetto High said, “Blake Campbell was an extraordinary young man both inside and outside of the classroom. He strived to be successful both academically as well as athletically.”
“However, above all his accomplishments, I will remember Blake for his genuine smile and infectious laugh. His personality and charisma was like none other. Simply being in his presence would quickly brighten your day,” Hays said.
“On a daily basis, Blake brought a smile to a multitude of faces, made us laugh out loud, and warmed our hearts. He will be greatly missed in the halls of Palmetto High School, but he will forever be in the hearts and minds of his fellow Mustangs.”