ANDERSON Co., S.C. (WSPA) — A teen passenger has died after a crash near Pendleton.
Anderson County Coroner Greg Shore identified the teen as 19-year-old DJ Walters III. Shore said Walters was a student at Pendleton High School.
His family spoke to 7 News Wednesday. They tell us, they don’t want their son and brother to be remembered by the crash. Instead, they want people to remember the fun-loving kid he was.
“I want them to remember him by his smile,” Christyana Walters, his sister, said. “He’s very goofy, he would say the craziest things. He was scared of nothing. If you’re upset, he always made everybody feel better.”
The accident happened just before 1 p.m. Tuesday on Lebanon Road in Pendleton.
Shore says it looks like the front seat passenger reached over and forced the car off the road. Shore says the car struck a tree. Walters was a passenger in the back seat.
The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office says they are investigating the crash to determine if any criminal activity happened. So far, no arrests have been made.
In her grief, DJ’s mom says she hopes teens will stop and think before they get in cars and get on the roads. His sister agrees and thinks it is what DJ would want.
“I think he would tell kids to probably wear their seat belts more often and just think about who you get in the care with before you do and make sure you trust them and the way they drive,” she added.
There’s a program called “Alive at 25” that works at schools throughout the Upstate. It teaches teens the dangers of the road and how to be safe.
“It gives them other options instead of falling to peer pressure and other things. It helps them know what to say and do, so it doesn’t happen,” said Anderson County SRO officer Keith Billingsley, an “Alive at 25” certified educator. For more information and to sign up for classes at any age, go to www.scaliveat25.com.
Because the death was unexpected, DJ’s family is also struggling to cover funeral expenses. A donation site has been set up for anyone wanting to help, click HERE.
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