KERSHAW COUNTY, S.C. — The Kershaw County Coroner's Office has released the name of a teen girl who died in a crash on U.S. Highway 1 following what the sheriff's office described as a chase.
Coroner David West said that 17-year-old Laila Rose Houser from the Camden area was headed toward Lugoff around 1:15 a.m. when her vehicle left the road and ran into the wood line, striking trees.
Houser, who the coroner said was a senior at Camden High School was not wearing a seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Following the news of the crash, the Kershaw County School District released a statement that reads:
We are saddened by the loss of KCSD student Laila Houser and our hearts go out to her family. Her friends, teachers and school community will miss her dearly. Laila was part of her school leadership team, served as a peer mentor and participated in many service projects with her school.
As a district, we will offer support and resources to our students and staff as they deal with the loss of a student and friend. Additional counselors will be on campus tomorrow, and throughout the week, to provide support for any students and staff who need them. The district sends its deepest condolences to the family.
What we know about the crash
As previously reported by the Kershaw County Sheriff's Office, investigators believe Houser was driving a vehicle that pulled away from a closed Dollar General on the highway as a deputy arrived to investigate.
According to the sheriff's office, the deputy then began chasing the escaping vehicle. The sheriff's office said the deputy had almost caught up with the fleeing vehicle when the driver, now believed to be Houser, attempted to make a turn onto Richardson Boulevard and struck a tree.
Authorities said they were not sure why she ran from the deputy. Another vehicle was said to have also been located at the Dollar General when the deputy arrived, however, the sheriff's office made no other mention of that vehicle in its statement to the community.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol's Multi-Disciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) is now investigating the crash.
Following the incident, the sheriff's office asked the community to have patience as the investigation continues.
“I ask that everyone shows compassion and respect for Laila’s family as they go through this unimaginable period in their lives," Sheriff Lee Boan said. "The most important fact we know at this time is that a loving family lost a precious child. Please keep them in your prayers.”