SUMTER, SC (WIS) - A Sumter family is grieving for a child that was killed after running in front of a car on a Sumter highway Monday evening. Sumter County Coroner Harvin Bullock identified the victim as 9-year-old Michael McGill, who lived in the Spring Creek Apartments near the accident site.
Lance Corporal Josef Robinson said the accident happened just after 6:00pm on Highway 378 near South Pike West and Dillon Park. McGill was hit while running across the highway after leaving the Young's Food Store, according to Bullock.
Family members say McGill had followed a 20-year-old cousin to the store to buy laundry detergent, and was hit in the eastbound lane when they were on their way home. McGill's mother, Michelle Jackson, had no idea he'd even gone out. "She didn't know that they were going out," said Annette Henry, Jackson's cousin. "They just must have ran out the door."
McGill's family says he was a happy, friendly child, a fourth grader at Sumter's Willow Drive Elementary. McGill was the youngest of Michelle Jackson's three sons. Now Jackson and everyone who knew Michael are struggling with the pain of losing him.
"He was a happy kid," said Henry. "He spoke to everybody. Loved to play. As a matter of fact, yesterday before the accident his grandmother she said as soon as he got home from school, he did his homework. He was finished with his homework and he came outside and he played. And everybody said you know he was speaking, he was just so happy yesterday."
"My mom deals with three children, which makes her super special," McGill wrote in a love letter to his mother.
"I let her know that God is in charge," said Henry. "I can't find the words to express to her or know what she's even going through because I don't have children. But I can only imagine. I mean she's taking it so hard. That's her youngest child. That was her baby."
Henry says it is not uncommon for people who live in the apartments on the north side of 378 to cut across the highway to get to the store on the other side. In fact, their footsteps have left a visible path in the median.
The store's manager confirms that some of his customers routinely cross the highway from the area around Spring Creek and other apartment complexes.
"I feel like maybe they could build a little walkway or a bridge or something that you know you can walk across because that is a busy highway," said Henry.
The speed limit is 55mph on that stretch of the four-lane highway, though investigators haven't said how fast the driver was actually going. The driver's name has not been released.
Authorities haven't said whether any charges will be filed, though there's been no indication from the highway patrol that the driver could be in any way responsible.