It didn't matter Wednesday whose child was involved in what police say was a drunken driving accident that injured six Lexington County teens last month.
The 50 or so people who packed a courtroom at the Lexington County Detention Center wanted one thing - a strict bond on the man accused of causing the wreck.
Magistrate Gary Morgan delivered, setting a $250,000 bond for Raymond Flores, 33. Flores has been charged with felony driving under the influence for his role in the Feb. 27 accident.
He allegedly drove the wrong way on I-26 near U.S. 321 and hit two other cars, according to police reports.
The Lexington High School students were riding in one of those cars as they traveled home from a state tournament basketball game at The Citadel. Two passengers in the car sustained serious injuries.
Karl Wilkerson, whose son was not involved in the accident, attended the hearing to show support for the teens.
"We may not be blood, but we're family," Wilkerson said. "Even though it wasn't my son, it was a hard phone call to get. He knew all of them. They all go back to middle school."
Morgan set the bond after State Highway Patrol Sgt. G.T. Levine said he could not confirm that Flores was a legal resident of the United States. Flores is a flight risk, Levine said.
Flores is from Mexico, and his wife and two children live there. He told the judge that he lives in Columbia and works for a landscaping company.
Flores, who spoke to the judge through an interpreter, asked for a public defender.
He told the judge that he would not leave the country because he needed to continue working. "I came here for a better opportunity for my family," he said.
Andrew Aun, a Lexington attorney representing two students involved in the accident, spoke on behalf of the entire group attending the hearing. He, too, asked the judge for a high bond because of worry Flores is a flight risk.
"We don't want the victims left holding the bag here," he said.
After the hearing, Aun said he was pleased that the bond was higher than he had expected.
But Yvette Hunt, whose son was one of the two seriously injured students, still feared that Flores would find the money and flee.
If Flores posts bond, he will be required to wear an electronic ankle bracelet so he can be monitored. But Hunt said that won't keep him in town.
"You can take those things off," she said. "He's getting out of this."
Hunt's son, Ronald Strickland, may lose his eyesight because of the accident. Glass shards flew into both eyes and he has had surgery on them.
Strickland, 17, said he had planned to enlist in the Army after graduation in June but now does not know whether he will be able to.
He can see shades and shapes out of his right eye. His left eye is still covered by a patch. Doctors have said they are not sure how much of his eyesight will be restored, Strickland said.
Strickland was sitting in the back seat and sending a text message on his phone when the crash happened.
Friends called his mother and she met the teen at the hospital.
Strickland said he was not sure how to feel about Flores.
"I don't want to put no harm on anybody," he said. "Whatever happens, happens."
Mostly, Strickland said, he is thankful that his friend, Justin Frierson, reminded him to buckle his seat belt before they started the trip home. Frierson was driving the Ford Explorer.
All of the students were wearing seat belts, and Strickland believes that is why they survived the crash.
"Everything happens for a reason," he said. "I'm just trying to figure out what that reason is."
Hunt said she wants her son to use his experience to teach others a lesson about drunken driving.