Family remembers student killed as bond set on DUI charge

cwinston@thestate.comDecember 7, 2013 

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC A 15-year-old Lexington high school student was remembered Saturday as a “brilliant” student who planned to be a doctor when he grew up.

But Brandon Mayo, a sophomore at White Knoll High School, was killed in a crash Friday morning while driving his way to school. His two-door Pontiac was hit when a Honda Pilot driven by Michael Gray, a 60-year-old Lexington man, crossed the center line of Old Barnwell Road.

Gray was charged with felony DUI resulting in death and possession of a controlled substance. The unemployed man said at the hearing he had never been in legal trouble before and was supported by a pension and disability.

At a hearing Saturday morning in Lexington County, Gray’s bond was set at $115,000 on the two charges. A Feb. 20 court date was scheduled. As of 10 p.m. Saturday, Gray remained at the Lexington County Detention Center, according to its inmate roster.

First Sgt. Chris Shelton with the S.C. Highway Patrol requested bond be denied for Gray based on the facts of the case. At the hearing, he said Gray failed field sobriety tests and refused to submit to a breath test. Shelton said there were two pills marked as Mylan A1 in an unmarked bag in the vehicle and Gray acknowledged he took Xanax and Klonopin each day. Shelton, whose son was a classmate of Mayo’s, suggested Gray was a danger on the roadway and showed no concern for Mayo.

“What’s going to happen to me?” is what Gray kept asking at the scene, Shelton said at the hearing.

About 20 friends and family of the teenager attended the hearing. Jason Amodio, Mayo’s uncle, spoke on their behalf and also requested a high bond. He was bothered by Gray’s apparent disregard for what had happened as well. When Gray was asked if he had anything to say at the hearing, he said nothing.

“He had no regard for (Mayo’s) life,” Amodio said.

After the hearing, Amodio said the past 24 hours had left the family undestandably “angry” and “devastated.”

Amodio said Mayo was a straight-A student who planned to be a pathologist when he grew up. He was also a cautious new driver who always had two hands on the wheel (at 9 and 3) and didn’t even listen to the radio to prevent distractions, Amodio said.

Mayo had recently been going to his grandmother’s house to cook and clean following her hip surgery.

“He didn’t have a bad bone in his body,” said Amodio. “That’s who he was.”

Amodio said the family wanted to give thanks for the outpouring of love and support from students at White Knoll High School. Photos of students holding a moment of silence in a commons area of the high school after learning of Mayo’s death circulated throughout social media on Friday.

(Click here to see one of the photos and how classmates responded to Mayo's death on Twitter.)

“That warmed (the family members’) hearts,” Amodio said.

Family members said Mayo’s funeral is planned for Tuesday, and a visitation will be announced for Monday. Caughman-Harman Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

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