Crime & Courts

Seat belt use may have saved lives, coroner says

Two people who died in Sunday car wrecks most likely would have survived if they had been wearing seat belts, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said.

Kristopher Brent Davis, 32, of Dahlia Road in Columbia died after he was ejected from his car after crashing in a front yard on Ott Road in Rosewood. Neighbors had reported hearing a loud noise around 1:50 a.m. Sunday, but no one called to report anything, Watts said. Davis' body was discovered in a front yard around 8:30 Sunday morning. He died from multiple injuries, Watts said.

The second collision occured at 11:30 a.m. on I-77 between the Hardscrabble and Killian Road exits. Ronniece D. Kirby, 22, of Baltimore, Md., died after driving her car into oncoming traffic, Watts said. Kirby was traveling north on I-77 in 2002 Nissan Altima when she crossed the median, said Sgt. Kelley Hughes of the S.C. Highway Patrol. She hit a 2006 Dodge Charger driven by Alvin M. Squirewell, 21, of Columbia, Hughes said. That section of I-77 did not have cables or any other barrier in the median.

Kirby, who was ejected from the Nissan, died during surgery at Palmetto Health Richland, Watts said. Squirewell also was taken to the hospital for his injuries, Hughes said. His condition has not been released.

Four male passengers in Kirby's Nissan were taken to Palmetto Health for non-serious injuries, Hughes said.

A witness to the accident reported that Kirby was driving erractically before she lost control of her car, Hughes said.

-- Noelle Phillips