Bond set for driver in DUI crash that killed pastor

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A 20-year-old woman faces felony DUI charges after Columbia police say she caused a rush-hour crash Wednesday afternoon, killing the founder of a Lexington church.

Officers said Mary M. Reames of Columbia was driving on Whaley Street around 5:40 p.m., when she ran a red light at the intersection with Assembly Street. Reames' Ford Escape first hit the front of an Oldsmobile Intrigue, according to police, before hitting the driver's side of 71-year-old Billy Dean Randall's Buick Park Avenue.

Randall, who had been waiting to turn left onto Whaley Street, died at the scene, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said. Randall was the founding pastor of Gethsemane Baptist Church in Lexington, according to church officials.

Police said the driver of the Oldsmobile was uninjured. Officers did not say whether Reames was hurt.

The intersection was blocked off for hours Wednesday evening, and Assembly Street was closed between Blossom and Rosewood. Whaley Street was also closed between Main and Park streets.

Reames is charged with felony driving under the influence. Officers said she's being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center. Her bond was set at $100,000 Friday morning, and she did post it. The judge said she couldn't have any contact with the victim's family.

Randall spent half of his life behind the pulpit. His ministry began 35 years ago, when he founded Gethsemane Baptist. "Pastor Randall's heart was here," said Pastor Stephen Williamson. "But not particularly this church but everywhere there was a church that preached the book."

Williamson took over the church with Randall stepped down. Williamson says investigators came to the church to tell him what happened, and he broke the news to Randall's wife. "She hadn't slept all night," said Williamson. "I don't think the impact has hit her yet. In the days to come, family is going to be important."

Pastor Frank Townsend says Randall was supposed to preach at his church that night. "He had preached a message, here's your life here," said Randall. "It starts here and ends here. You don't know when it ends but between here you have choices to make and you've got an appointed time. When it comes, it comes."

Outside of preaching, Randall loved to fly planes. He taught Stoney Truett how to fly 25 years ago. "He would take time to train you in flying, giving you a Bible lesson, give you a gospel tract and keep coming back for more," said Truett.

A tragic end to a life of a seasoned minister and skilled pilot who touched many. Still, Williamson says pastor Randall legacy will live on. "What a great man," said Williamson. "What made him a great man, a good man was the influence of Jesus Christ in his life."

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