Crash involving toddler divides neighbors

A stretch of Cedar Creek Road in Lexington County is far from the interstate, but Darlett Strother said the drivers who travel up and down the highway often travel at interstate speed.

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - "This is a street that links two highways, so people use this as a cut way," said Strother. "Log trucks come through here. We're in the country, so what's a speed limit in the country? When you're playing in my yard and I can almost spit on that street from my house, you don't need to be here."

Strother said all too often, her neighbor's children played in her yard and even the street. She repeatedly told the children, aged 9, 6, and 3, just how dangerous it was to play in the road.

"I talked to my landlord about it. He said that he would address it to the mom," said Strother. "That's pretty much how we do things."

But Strother said nothing changed after that phone call. Just one a month after that conversation, Strother's fear became reality.

"Several of us had talked about, you know, you see the kids in the road, they're gonna get hit one day," she said.

But Strother said she never thought it would be her own son behind the wheel when it happened.

"Not in a million years would I have thought my child would have hit one of those children," she said.

Her 27-year-old son, Joshua Miller, who she said suffers from autism, was driving a minivan back from the store when 3-year-old Avery Floyd was struck. Miller has no license and crash investigators said he was drinking. Reports show state troopers found an open beer in the car, and Miller was charged with leaving the scene of the crash.

When asked why she allowed her son to drive, knowing he didn't have a license, Strother responded, "What am I supposed to say? Do I regret that? Yeah, every minute, every second."

The children's mother, Jessica Floyd, says the three children followed their 14-year-old niece out of their house. But witnesses say the 14-year-old was more than a quarter of a mile down the road when the child was hit.

Floyd said she didn't know her kids were out of the house until her 6-year-old came in screaming.

Floyd said she immediately ran to the scene. Her nursing training kicked in and she began giving her toddler mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Avery was flown to Palmetto Health Richland where he slipped into a coma from which he has yet to awaken.

"I'm so scared that my baby is going to die," said Floyd.

As for the charges Joshua Miller faces, and the charge against her for allowing him to drive, Strother said that will play out in court.

"I believe whatever Joshua has to face down the road, whatever I have to face, you're responsible for your actions," she said. "There's repercussions for everything that you do."

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