A moment of distracted driving may have killed a young mother from Elgin but her infant daughter survived, Richland County coroner Gary Watts said Sunday.
Brittany Powell, 171 Elgin Road, 23, died at the scene a half mile from her home in a head-on collision Friday afternoon with a pickup truck, according to Watts and the S.C. Highway Patrol.
“She didn’t have on a seat belt, but her six-month-old daughter was in a child restraint seat in the back,” Watts said. “The car seat definitely saved that child.”
The daughter was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
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Watts said it couldn’t be determined whether Powell removed her seat belt to try to do something with her child or if she had been driving with it off.
The pickup truck driver told officers on the scene that in the seconds before the crash, he saw no one driving the car, Watts said.
The driver of the pickup, a 2000 Ford, told officers that he saw Powell’s oncoming 2007 Hyundi cross over the center land into his lane and he steered his pickup into her lane, but suddenly her car veered back into her lane and the two vehicles collided, a patrol spokesman said.
The pickup driver, Melvin Campbell of Elgin, 58, was unhurt. He was not wearing a seat belt at the time, the patrol said.
The incident is under investigation. The spokesman did not know how fast the two vehicles were going when they collided.