Riley McDermott only spoke once when he appeared in court Monday.
He stared at the floor as a judge recited the names of the three killed in a car accident Saturday near Anderson University, where authorities said McDermott was an assistant baseball coach. Three more were hospitalized with serious injuries.
In all, McDermott, 24, was charged in warrants with three counts of felony DUI resulting in death and three counts of felony DUI with great bodily harm. Municipal judge Ken Mattison denied bond for all counts Monday.
“This is a tragic situation,” Mattison told the courtroom filled with family and friends of Amber Perkins, Jessica Roberts and Corey Simmonds.
The three died just after midnight after warrants allege that the pickup McDermott was driving while under the influence of alcohol crossed the center line and collided head-on into another vehicle.
Anderson County Coroner Greg Shore said the impact sounded like an explosion. The coroner said Simmonds, 22, died at the scene. So did Perkins, 17.
Roberts, 20, was taken to the hospital, where she later died from her injuries.
Holding up a picture of his daughter, Charles Harris said Monday that Roberts is survived by a 1-year-old daughter. He said Roberts and Simmonds had just started dating.
“I want him to pay for what happened,” Harris said.
When asked how long he had lived in Anderson, McDermott told the judge 61/2 years, four of them as a student at Anderson University and the rest as an assistant coach.
Those two sentences, said in barely-audible voice, would be his only comments.
Addressing the courtroom, McDermott’s attorney, Bobby Frederick, said his client isn’t a habitual drunk, a partier or a drug user. He has no prior criminal record.
“What happened was an aberration,” the attorney said.
He asked that a reasonable bond be set so that McDermott, a Florida native, could go home and be with his family.
Anderson police, however, said McDermott was a flight risk and that he needed to be held to a higher standard as a coach and role model.
“We have three young lives that have been lost,” authorities said.
Debra Simmonds said the call that came at 3 a.m. that morning was like a terrible dream.
“You hear about it, and it’s always somebody else. It wasn’t somebody else for us,” Debra Simmonds said.
“I don’t believe that you have the right to be out driving, walking or anything,” she said to McDermott.
The accident that killed Roberts also injured her 17-year-old sister, Samantha Roberts, who is in intensive care at Greenville Memorial Hospital. Her parents said she broke both her arms and collarbone but is in stable condition.
A 12-year-old girl authorities identified as Perkins’ sister was also in the hospital, as was Ralph Van-Nostrand, who was a passenger in the pickup.
Nostrand is an assistant soccer coach at Anderson University, according to the school.