Mother released on bond after 2 girls killed in Oconee Co. wreck - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Mother released on bond after 2 girls killed in Oconee Co. wreck

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Melissa Patton (Source: Oconee County Detention Center) Melissa Patton (Source: Oconee County Detention Center)
Taniyia Gambrell (L) and Saryia Patton-Dean (Source: Family) Taniyia Gambrell (L) and Saryia Patton-Dean (Source: Family)
A vigil was held for the victims of the wreck on Wednesday night. (Jan. 1, 2014/FOX Carolina) A vigil was held for the victims of the wreck on Wednesday night. (Jan. 1, 2014/FOX Carolina)
A memorial set up at the site of the fatal crash. (Jan. 2, 2014/FOX Carolina) A memorial set up at the site of the fatal crash. (Jan. 2, 2014/FOX Carolina)
OCONEE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Two young sisters died in an Oconee County crash after troopers said their mother drove drunk on New Year's Day.

South Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Billy Elder said the crash happened 2:15 a.m. Wednesday on Wells Highway in Oconee County. He said a Dodge Durango was traveling east when it hit a sign at Utica Baptist Church and flipped, landing on church property.

According to the Oconee County Coroner's Office, 1-year-old Taniyia Gambrell and her 4-year-old sister, Saryia Patton-Dean, were both killed. The coroner said Taniyia was in a child safety seat and died at the scene. Saryia was wearing a seatbelt and was transported to Oconee Medical Center where she died.

The coroner said both girls appeared to have died from head injuries.

Elder identified the driver as Melissa Patton, 32, of Seneca. The coroner's office said Patton was the mother of both children. She was taken to the hospital along with a male passenger.

According to jail officials, Patton was charged with two counts of felony driving under the influence resulting in death and one count of driving under suspension.

Patton was released on $50,652 bond on Thursday.

Family and friends of the victims held a vigil on Wednesday at Utica Baptist Church in Seneca where the wreck happened.

"A lot of people have a lot of negative things to say about the mother, and the situation," said Patton's cousin LaQuasha Frasier. "But if anything - if anybody knew her and knew what type of mother she was, she was a great mother."

Patton has two other children who were not in the accident. There was a second adult in the car with her, who family members said was a friend who "helped with the kids." No word on if any further charges will be filed in the crash.

This wreck remains under investigation.

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