Suicidal driver punished for death of child - Horry County SC

Posted on Mar 19, 2010
The family of three-year-old Erica Bellamy was awarded over $10 million in damages after the conclusion of a two day wrongful-death trial. Erica was killed in a March 7, 2005 vehicle crash on S.C. 544 in Horry County. The suit was initially filed against driver, Christopher Jones, 21, in 2008. Jones has also pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter and is currently serving a 21 year prison sentence.

Jones was 17 at the time of the accident, which occurred when he intentionally aimed his Chevrolet Tahoe at the Bellamy family car in an attempt to commit suicide, hitting their vehicle at maximum speed. Jones was paralyzed from the waist down in a prior wreck in 2004 while he was driving alone. He drove a modified vehicle that allowed him to accelerate by hand.

Erica Bellamy was killed while riding in the back seat in her car seat with her mother, father and brother, all of whom suffered injuries in the crash. Her family was awarded $750,000 in actual damages and $10.2 million in punitive damages. The family has said they feel closure at the close of the trial.


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