SCHP: Victims in double fatal DUI crash did 'everything perfect' to avoid incident

Published: Mar. 10, 2017 at 8:56 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 10, 2017 at 10:16 PM EST
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(Source: WIS viewer)
(Source: WIS viewer)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The South Carolina Highway Patrol says the tragic crash happened despite proper action by the victims to get their disabled car off the roadway.

Troopers say under the circumstances, Kekima Alexander, 39, and Latoya Garcia, 31, took the proper precautions to stay safe -- not knowing, of course, that another driver would defy the odds and somehow steer her car off Interstate 20 and into the family's broken-down Nissan Altima.

RELATED: See photos from the scene of the crash.

The couple and their baby boy had pulled off westbound I-20 about 350 yards from the North Main Street exit ramp.

L. Cpl. David Jones said Nissan was well off the roadway, which at that point has a fairly wide emergency lane. Alexander was at the rear of the car, trying to fix a blown-out tire, while Garcia and her baby -- restrained in a safety seat -- were inside.

Jones says the car, in fact, was past the emergency lane and actually into a grassy area when the Hyundai SUV driven by Clarice Payano, 21, veered off the highway and into Alexander and the Nissan.

Trooper Jones said Alexander had done as he put it "everything perfect" to protect himself and the others.

That said, Jones also said the patrol suggests that if you have that type of emergency -- if at all possible -- it is best to not attempt to do a roadside repair but continue on to the next exit and try to get off the highway altogether. In this case, that would have been exit 70, but Jones said the tire was shredded.

Jones also says if you have a phone, to dial *47 as soon as you can to summon help which would include a patrol vehicle with blue lights to protect you and alert other drivers.

No fault is being assigned to the victims in this case.

The 13-month-old child is now in the care of family members, according to a person close to the family.

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