Vehicle running from police hits tree head-on in fatal wreck

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Three men died in a single vehicle accident Friday night after Columbia Police said they were fleeing from a traffic stop.

Around 10:15pm, an officer was conducting a traffic stop after seeing a suspect vehicle disregard a stop sign at the intersection of Live Oak Street and South Kilbourne Road. Police said as the officer was conducting that stop, the vehicle fled from the scene at a high rate of speed onto South Prospect Street.

A witness told the officer the vehicle was heading towards Riviera Road at a high rate of speed. Back-up units were dispatched in that direction where officers said they found the vehicle had crashed in the 3700 block of Riviera Road.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating the crash. It said the car was traveling south on South Prospect Street when it when off the road and struck a tree head-on near the intersection of South Prospect Street and Riviera Road.

Richland County Coroner Gary Watts identified the driver of the vehicle as 30-year-old Stanley Gilmore, the front-seat passenger as 47-year-old James Watson, and the back-seat passenger as 55-year-old Everett Washington.

Watts said Gilmore and Washington were not wearing seatbelts but Watson was. All three died from multi-trauma at the scene of the crash.

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