COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Monday, Sept. 21, would have been the 25th birthday of University of South Carolina student, David Newell, killed by a drunk driver while riding his moped in downtown Columbia nearly three years ago.
Last week, David’s mother, Annette Newell, made a post on social media asking if someone would drop off flowers to the crash site where her son was hit near 1830 Rosewood Drive. Annette lives out-of-state and says, already, the response has been overwhelming.
The crash happened on Nov. 15, 2017 just before David was set to return home to Maryland for the Thanksgiving holiday. That would never happen because around 7:30 that night, the UofSC senior was struck from behind by a driver officials described as “grossly intoxicated,” and driving double the posted speed limit.
That driver, Charles Davenport Jr., has since been sentenced to 20 years behind bars.
As we mark what would have been David’s 25th birthday, one UofSC parent who has never met the Newell family wants to help.
Kandie Wright saw Annette’s post requesting flowers and said just sending your children to college is difficult enough.
She said, “I don’t even pretend to be able to imagine what she or her family has gone through, but we just all see our children that we’re having to let go of, a little bit, go over there and begin their little life and we want to protect them forever and what’s happened to her is the worst thing that any of us could ever imagine.”
Annette says she is tremendously grateful for all the support.
“I don’t know any of these people and the outpouring has just been so phenomenal and I think it just shows that there are good people in the world who really want to help one another and who really can support one another. We just have to find each other,” said Annette.
Wright is just one of many people volunteering to place flowers at the crash site, Monday. She’s encouraging anyone who is available and willing to support this family stop by with flowers, balloons or anything to honor David on his birthday.
At the time of his death, David’s organs were donated saving four lives. His mother tells WIS-TV that it’s important that David continues to help others even in death.
No long after the crash, a fraternity brother of David’s organized a GoFundMe account to help with funeral expenses hoping to raise $10,000. That page ultimately brought in more than $50,000, and David’s mother used what was left over to fulfill that goal of using her son’s memory to help others.
“David didn’t get to graduate from college and it’s my goal as a teacher, of course, to educate people and I would like to help people graduate since David wasn’t able to,” said Annette who added that, “I contribute monthly to it, as well as whenever – David’s birthday, I’ll throw in money that would spend for his birthday, I’d give to the scholarship fund and same with the holidays. Money I would spend on gifts for him, I give to the scholarship fund. So, I would really like to see that grow and have David’s memory live on that way.”
Annette is asking that if you can’t stop by the crash site, Monday, that you consider donating to David’s scholarship fund, the David Newell Memorial Scholarship Fund with the UofSC Darla Moore School of Business.
You will need to search for David Newell and then select his scholarship fund.
Checks can also be made out to:
University of South Carolina
Darla Moore School of Business
1014 Greene Street, Columbia, SC 29208
Use the code DJN USCDMSOB on your check. Annette is also hoping David’s story will be a reminder to everyone not to drink and drive, and to consider being an organ donor.