LEXINGTON, SC — An unrestrained passenger in a vehicle driven by a buckled-in 16-year-old driver was killed Saturday night after being thrown from the vehicle during a crash, the S.C. Highway Patrol reported.
The incident took place on Bethany Church Road about 7 p.m., said Lexington County Chief Deputy Coroner Randy A. Martin in a statement released Sunday.
The 16-year-old, who was a juvenile and not identified, was driving a 1983 Mazda, was wearing a seat belt and only suffered minor injuries, was taken to Lexington Medical Center.
Carlos L. Rivera, 45, of Lexington, also was taken to Lexington Medical Center where he died shortly after 8 p.m. from injuries sustained in the collision, Martin said. He was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle.
The Mazda was headed south on Bethany Church Road when it ran off the right side of the road, struck a ditch and overturned, Lance Cpl. Judd Jones with the highway patrol reported.
People not wearing seat belts and being ejected from vehicles in crashes is a major cause of road deaths in South Carolina, according to statistics from the S.C. Department of Public Safety.
Road deaths in South Carolina have dropped markedly since the legislature passed a mandatory seat belt law in 2005, but there are still some people who do not wear seat belts.
The accident remains under investigation by the Lexington County Coroners Office and the South Carolina Highway Patrol.
Reach Monk at (803) 771-8344.