Westwood High School student-athlete dies in car crash

Published: Mar. 31, 2017 at 10:45 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 31, 2017 at 2:29 PM EDT
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(Source: Google Earth)
(Source: Google Earth)
Ellis Hawkins (Source: Palmetto Sports Imaging)
Ellis Hawkins (Source: Palmetto Sports Imaging)

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) - The Westwood High School community is mourning the loss of an 11th-grade student who was killed in a two-vehicle crash in Blythewood on Thursday night.

Ellis Hawkins, 16, was a passenger in a car with two other teenagers that collided with another vehicle on Wilson Boulevard near Fulmer Road around 6 p.m. Coroner Gary Watts confirmed Hawkins' identity and said he was restrained in the back seat at the time of the accident.

Watts says Hawkins died three hours after the accident.

Hawkins played varsity basketball and football at Westwood High.

Westwood High School principal Cheryl Guy sent the following email to parents on Friday morning:

Dear Westwood Parents,

Last night, we learned the sad news about the death of one of our students, Ellis Hawkins. We feel it is important to share this information with you. When a tragedy like this occurs, it impacts not only the Redhawk family, but also the entire Richland Two family.

In an effort to help students cope with the loss of a classmate, we brought in additional counselors to help students. Our teachers will continue to watch for students who may be struggling and to send them to see a school counselor. We will continue to take these measures as long as needed.

In case your child comes to you with questions about this tragedy, we wanted to share some information that may help you talk to your child about this loss. Listening to your child is one of the most important things that you can do. Allow your child to talk about his feelings and thoughts. However, not every child may want to share. Let your children express their emotions and provide them with support while they do. It is okay if your child wants time alone. Just let your child know that you care and are nearby if he/she needs you. Remember, too, that children look to the adults in their lives, watch how they handle grief and loss, and take their cues from you as they approach difficult situations like this.

If you are worried about your child's reaction, please call our school counseling office at 803-691-4049 ext. 36017 and speak to one of our counselors. We care about all of our students and want them to cope with this tragedy or any difficulties they may be experiencing.

When we receive information regarding services, we will share with you. Our thoughts are prayers are with the Hawkins family and everyone affected by this tragedy.


Cheryl Guy, Ph.D


According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the southbound 2005 Saturn that Hawkins was riding in lost control, veered into the northbound lane and struck a 2010 Cadillac.

Two 17-year-olds in the Saturn were hospitalized.

The driver of the northbound vehicle sustained serious, but non-life threatening injuries, according to troopers.

No other details were immediately available.

The accident remains under investigation.

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