Man denied bond again after 7-year-old killed in crash on I-77 last summer

Jason Palmer is accused at hitting a family’s vehicle last July at a speed of more than 100 mph.
Jason Palmer is accused at hitting a family’s vehicle last July at a speed of more than 100 mph.
Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 5:21 PM EST
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CHESTER, S.C. (WBTV) - Today marked an emotional day in court for a local family as they relived the night their 7-year-old son was killed in a crash on I-77 last year.

Max Shanks was killed when his family’s vehicle was struck by another car going nearly 100 mph. Jason Palmer, the driver of that other car, is facing several charges, including reckless homicide.

Palmer and his attorney came back to the same courtroom he had been in before, this time hoping to be given a bond amount.

“He welcomes the opportunity to deal with this case,” Palmer’s lawyer, William Frick, said.

Sitting just feet behind Palmer were the parents of young Max, who was killed in the horrific crash last July.

The prosecution argues that Palmer drove his van into the Shanks’ car, causing it to flip several times along northbound I-77.

At the time, Palmer was out on bond in Mecklenburg County facing other charges including concealment of a body.

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

Corey Shanks, Max’s father, sustained severe injuries that he said he’s still recovering from today. The prosecution tried to paint Palmer has a habitual reckless driver, who up until the day of the accident had been lucky.

“Maybe by the grace of God this did not happen sooner,” the District Attorney said. “Unfortunately, the Shanks did not have a choice on that day.”

The defense pointed out that a toxicology test that the DA’s Office ordered came back clear.

“None of those were in his system as well, so he was not under the influence of anything,” Palmer’s attorney said in court.

Prosecutors charged Palmer with reckless homicide, and assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. Palmer’s council hoped to get those charges quickly purged.

Even though Palmer pleaded not guilty to the charges, the judge decided this wasn’t the venue to make a ruling on the validity of the indictment. He has apologized before and said he feels remorse over the incident, but doesn’t feel he should still be in custody.

“It’s tragic. And it is what it is,” Frick said. “But I don’t feel it rises to the point of criminal.”

At the end of the hearing though, Palmer was again denied bond.

“I guess I would like to express gratitude to the judge today,” Jessica Shanks, Max’s mother, said.

Jessica was thankful for the latest ruling, and is continuing her efforts to fix the bond system, which she believes is broken.

“Had he not been, our son would still be here, and our lives would still be whole,” she said.

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