Army Reservist Jabari O. Harding pleaded guilty this morning in the deaths of two Allen University students following a 2009 car accident near Columbia’s Five Points.
Allen students Candice Davis, 18, of Holly Hill, and Jerry Blandin, 20, of Greenville, died in the Aug. 30, 2009, accident at Harden and Gervais streets, just blocks from the campus, at one of the city’s busiest intersections.
The 1988 Chevrolet Lumina Davis and Blandin were riding in was headed west on Gervais Street and trying to turn left onto Harden Street at 1:25 a.m. when it was hit by a 2004 Dodge Ram truck driven by Harding.
The 21-year-old driver of the car escaped major injury, but another passenger, an 18-year-old woman, Courtney Williams, an Allen freshman from Santee, was hospitalized with serious injuries. The truck hit the car’s front passenger side.
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The students’ deaths sent shock waves through the community.
Harding, of Cordova, Ala., was in Columbia for drill sergeant instruction at Fort Jackson.
Arrest warrants say Harding, then 27, had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. He had been at the Fort Jackson school since July 25 of that year, base spokeswoman Karen Soule said.
Harding pleaded guilty to three counts of felony DUI, a charge involving serious bodily injury or death.