COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The Columbia police announced that James Kester, 64, has been charged with 12 counts of attempted murder after he allegedly hit several people who were attending a graveside service on Wednesday afternoon at Greenlawn Memorial Park in Columbia.
A dozen people were hurt around 1:30 p.m. when police say Kester ran into them with his car at the cemetery on Leesburg Road near Interstate 77. The victims struck at the funeral were the family of Margaret Livington.
None of the injuries to the victims, aged from 78 to 11 years old, were reported to be life-threatening. Kester is scheduled to appear for his first bond hearing at 9 a.m. Thursday.
Deputy Columbia Police Chief Melron Kelly said several of the injured people were treated at the scene before being transported to local hospitals for further treatment.
The motive for the incident is still unclear at this time
RELATED: See more photos from the scene.
A Palmetto Health spokeswoman said two of its hospitals received patients. Palmetto Health Baptist received seven patients and Palmetto Health Richland received five patients related to the incident.
"Team members are asked to be aware of the additional patient volume and resources necessary to care for these patients," Spokeswoman Tammy Epps said. "The thoughts of our team members are with the family and friends of those injured in this accident."
The five patients who were taken to Palmetto Health Richland have been admitted; one is in serious condition and four others are in fair condition.
The seven other victims were taken to the Palmetto Health Baptist and all have been discharged.
Multiple agencies responded to the scene, including the Richland County Sheriff's Department, the Columbia Police Department, Richland County EMS and the Columbia Fire Department.
"I've met with all that were not injured," Greenlawn Memorial Park General Manager Suzanne Elkins said. "We've made sure that they had no injuries themselves. We had a counselor on-site immediately who could talk to them and see how they were doing from a grief perspective. They were already having a horrible day, and this just made it more tragic."
Commenting on the severity of the injuries, Kelly said, "It could have been a whole lot worse."
A fundraiser has been established for the victims of this incident. If you wish to contribute, click here.