Crime & Courts

Coroner: Columbia residents who died in crash not wearing seat belts

Two Columbia residents were identified as victims in a weekend car crash, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said Sunday afternoon.

Neither was wearing a seatbelt, Watts said, and both were ejected from the vehicle. They died from head injuries, he added.

The coroner identified the two as:

▪ Julia Louise Mydell, 21, 4501 Bentley Drive. She died at the scene.

▪ Diyonte T. Rowe, 25, 2400 Ashland Road. Rowe was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead in the emergency room.

Their car was traveling south in the 2900 block of Two Notch Road, near the intersection with west Beltline Boulevard, around 4 a.m. Saturday when it ran off the side of the road and hit a curb and utility pole, the Columbia Police Department said.

The car flipped and rolled across west Beltline and landed in a parking lot, police said, adding no other cars were involved in the accident.

Columbia police are still investigating. No other information was immediately available Sunday.

Watts said seat belts are proven to save lives.

“You double your chances of survival if you are wearing a seat belt, he said.

According to the S.C. Office of Highway Safety, a person wearing a seat belt is 100 times more likely to not be ejected from the vehicle in a crash and thus survive.

“The percentage of fatalities suffered by ejected occupants was more than 100 times that of occupants not ejected,” according to a 2012 S.C. Office of Highway Safety study of that year’s fatalities, the latest available report.

After South Carolina passed a mandatory seat belt in 2005, seat belt use rose from about 60 percent to the current 90 percent.

Watts said a mother of four also was killed last week in a Columbia traffic accident.

“She wasn’t wearing a seat belt either,” Watts said.