Troopers: 15-year-old driver in fatal wreck was driving illegally

(From left) Bryan, Crystal and Xitlali Torres (Source: Lindsey Hursey)
(From left) Bryan, Crystal and Xitlali Torres (Source: Lindsey Hursey)

SWANSEA, SC (WIS) - The South Carolina Highway Patrol says the 15-year-old driver who died in an accident that also killed her 10-year-old brother and sent her sister to the hospital had her learner's permit to drive, but was breaking the law by not having someone over the age of 20 in the car.

Crystal Torres, 15, and her brother, Bryan Torres, 10, both from Gaston died Tuesday evening on Highway 321 near Swansea when their 2011 Honda Accord was hit by a tractor-trailer.

Lexington County Coroner Harry O. Harman said the 18-wheeler was traveling southbound on Highway 321 and collided with the Honda after it entered the highway traveling eastbound near W. Hutto Rd. The accident happened about six and a half miles from the victims' home.

Xitlali Torres, 14, was airlifted to Palmetto Health Richland in critical condition. The driver of the tractor-trailer was taken to Lexington Medical Center with minor injuries.

Crystal Torres was a sophomore at Swansea High School and her brother, Bryan, was a 5th grader at Frances Mack Intermediate School.

Harman said all three siblings in the Honda were wearing seatbelts. The three were driving to soccer practice when the accident happened.

According to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, someone with a learner's permit may drive from 6:00 a.m. to midnight if a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old and has at least one year of driving experience is in the front seat. Troopers said Crystal Torres was the oldest person in the car.

The accident remains under investigation by the Lexington County Coroner's Office and the South Carolina Highway Patrol MAIT team.

A candlelight vigil for Crystal and Bryan will be held at 8:00 p.m. Thursday at the Sandhills Soccer Complex in Swansea.

A fund has been set up to help the Torres family with expenses. Click here for more information

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