The 7-year-old child thrown from a vehicle wreck after a high-speed chase on Interstate 85 by Spartanburg County deputies died Tuesday night at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center.
Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger said Queniya Tykia Shelton of Lincoln Drive, Spartanburg, was pronounced dead at 7:21 p.m. Clevenger said his office would be investigating the “exact cause and manner of death.”
Errika Dominique Shelton has been identified as the driver accused of trying to elude Spartanburg County deputies Monday.
Queniya Tykia Shelton was thrown from the vehicle when it crashed in the northbound lane near the 81 mile marker.
This was not Shelton’s first run-in with police. Her lengthy criminal record includes convictions for failing to stop for a blue light, unlawful carrying of a weapon, assaulting a police officer while resisting arrest, habitual traffic offender and drug charges, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
Her list of offenses includes several misdemeanor convictions, including driving under suspension, third or subsequent offense, and simple assault and battery.
According to online jail records from November 2009, Shelton lived at 142 Lincoln Drive, Spartanburg.
Shelton’s 10-year driving record, obtained from the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles, shows numerous traffic violations, including her license being suspended 18 times from May of 2005 through February of this year. It appears some of those suspensions overlap. For example, Shelton’s license was suspended in August 2010 after she was classified a habitual offender. That suspension was to expire in August 2015, yet the record shows her license was suspended again on Feb. 6 for failure to stop for a blue light.
During a news conference Monday, Sheriff Chuck Wright said two deputies inside one car pursued the vehicle after noticing erratic driving. He thought the suspected traffic violation was following too close or improperly changing lanes.
The chase topped speeds of 100 mph.
Shelton, 26, and the child were both injured in the crash. Wright said Shelton suffered broken bones, while the child was “gravely injured.”
Lance Cpl. Bill Rhyne with the S.C. Highway Patrol said the driver and child were both transported to Spartanburg Regional Medical Center.
Rhyne said Shelton was driving a 2012 Dodge Journey and lost control of the vehicle while trying to elude police, striking the guardrail. The SUV overturned, ejecting the child, before going over the guardrail and part of the median. He said the vehicle came to rest in the median near the southbound lane.
Wright said his deputies followed protocol in the chase and did not know a child was in the vehicle at the time of the chase.
Wright blamed Shelton for the crash, saying she should have simply pulled over.
The sheriff said deputies found about a half pound of marijuana in the incident, but he wasn’t sure if it was in the vehicle, thrown from it or at the crash scene.
Shelton had not been charged with any crimes in connection to the incident on Monday as of Tuesday afternoon. Wright said he has discussed possible charges with the solicitor.
Wright said the department was sorry and saddened that a child was hurt in the pursuit. He said both deputies involved in the chase are fathers.
“The baby’s in bad shape,” Wright said. “The baby’s in very bad shape. We need to pray for the family.”
He did not elaborate on the child’s injuries.
Shelton was listed in good condition Tuesday afternoon.