Laurens County Coronor’s office staff responded Thursday afternoon to a 4-wheeler accident with an tractor-trailer in Joanna which resulted in the deaths of two 14-year-old girls from Laurens County.
According to Trooper Joe Hovis of the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the tractor-trailer was traveling south on Milton Road and the ATV was traveling west on Pickens Street.
The ATV attempted to cross Milton Road and struck the tractor-trailer around 4:40 p.m. Both the driver and the passenger on the 2013 Honda ATV passed away at the scene. The driver of the truck was not injured. The accident remains under investigation by the SCHP.
“What a sad day this has been for all families and department involved,” Canupp said in a release sent Thursday night. “There were two fatalities today in Joanna involving a 4 wheeler and a 18 wheeler.”
Jasmine Peake of Joanna and Madison Simmons from Gray Court, both 14, were both killed in the accident, which is still under investigation and pending autopsy in the morning, Canupp said.
“My heart goes out to the families and everyone involved,” Canupp added.
More than an hour prior to the press release, Laurens County Coronor Vickie Cheek, without referring to this exact tragedy, had posted a comment on her Facebook page asking for Laurens County residents to refrain from posting news about accidents which involve fatalities.
“The Coroner’s Office deals with tough situations almost every day, including having to notify family members that their loved one has died in an accident or from a crime,” Cheek said. “One thing that makes our job more difficult, is when family members learn of a death from social media posts and photos first. PLEASE people…THINK about how your family would be affected. When a family finds out about a death on social media, it’s very impersonal and obviously a shock. The Coroner’s Office works diligently to get in touch with next-of-kin as soon as possible. Please think before you speak.”
Laurens County School District 56 released the following statements on Friday afternoon from Dr. Martha Brothers, principal of Clinton High School, and Superintendent Dr. David O’Shields regarding the death of CHS student, Jasmin Peake:
“The students and staff at Clinton High School are saddened and hurt by the death of Jasmine Peake, one of our 9th grade virtual students. According to her teachers, Jasmine was a personable, vibrant young lady who enjoyed her classes and enjoyed interacting with her teachers and fellow students,” Brothers said. “We pray for peace and comfort for Jasmine’s family and friends as they face the days ahead. I hope they feel the love and support that we are all sending from her Red Devil family. Jasmine Peake will always be part of Red Devil Nation.”
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of two young lives filled with promise and taken much too soon. We embrace the families during this time of grief and pray for their comfort during the difficult times ahead. Our district and schools grieve with the families,” O’Shields said.