Bond denied for man charged in I-77 crash in Chester County, S.C. that killed 7-year-old

He’s facing several charges stemming from the deadly weekend crash.
Emotions ran high as family members of a 7-year-old boy killed in a crash on I77 came face-to-face with the man accused of snatching their loved one from them.
Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 12:30 PM EDT
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CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WBTV) A judge has denied bond for a man accused of driving under the influence and killing a child in Chester County, S.C.

Investigators say Jason Palmer caused a crash that killed the 7-year-old and injured three others on Interstate 77 over the weekend.

Related: Man charged after vehicles collide on I-77 in Chester County, killing 7-year-old, injuring 3 others

“Please keep this animal behind bars,” said Kelli Phillips, who is the grandmother of the boy.

Emotions ran high as family members of a 7-year-old boy killed in a crash on I77 came face-to-face with the man accused of snatching their loved one from them.

”Our Christmases, our Thanksgivings, our family vacations are forever impacted because of careless and selfish choices,” said his other grandmother, Stephanie Blackmon.

Tears were shed as the prosecutor read the details about the car flipping over several times before running into a tree.

Prosecutor Candice Lively says Palmer was going almost 100 miles per hour when he hit the back of another car, which apparently flipped several times before ramming into a tree. Prosecutors say Palmer was actually out on bond when he crashed into the car. He had been arrested for concealing or failing to report a death and accessory after the fact.

His criminal arrest record goes back to 2003 on various charges ranging from receiving a stolen vehicle to larceny of a motor vehicle and breaking and entering.

According to the prosecution, troopers with the South Carolina Highway Patrol felt Palmer was under the influence because of how he was acting on the scene. Troopers described him as “obviously impaired.” His blood was drawn for a test but Lively says those results are not back yet.

Palmer asked to speak and admitted to speeding, saying he was “tired and wanted to get home.”

Sobs wracked the family members’ bodies as Jason Palmer, the person accused of causing the crash, apologized in court.

“I am so sorry about that kid. I am truly, truly sorry,” Palmer said.

The judge agreed with Lively that Palmer was too much of a flight risk since he was not from the area and did pose a threat to the community considering the charges he was facing, and bond was denied. It is something she says these cases deserve.

”It doesn’t matter how long I’ve been doing this job, it’s heart-wrenching. It was hard for me to hear the pain the family’s going through because these are the types of crimes that are definitely preventable,” Lively says.

Kimberly Cockrell, victims’ advocate with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, is helping the family through the entire process.

”They are absolutely devastated. You know we’re not supposed to bury our children,” said Cockrell.

Cockrell said the day in court was worth it though when they got their wish—a denied bond.

”Their worst fear is that he’s going to get out and do this to another family,” she explained.

There is a long road ahead still. One that Cockrell said this family is unfortunately prepared for.

”While they’re trying to remain strong for the four-year-old as well as each other it’s hard,” she said.

Palmer is charged with possession of cocaine, felony DUI where death results and felony DUI with great bodily injury.

He’s also charged with not having insurance on his car and possession of marijuana.

One man remains in the hospital in critical condition following the crash and the child who died has not yet been identified.

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