Coroner identifies 2 men killed in downtown Columbia crash
Fri, 14 Dec 2012 18:33:49 GMT —
COLUMBIA (WACH / AP) - The Richland County coroner has identified the two individuals killed in an early morning crash Friday in downtown Columbia.
Investigators say 23-year-old Shyborn Belton had a stolen pistol and crack cocaine in his car and was driving a stolen 2011 Hyundai at about 70 mph when he ran a red light around 12:30 a.m. Friday near downtown Columbia after driving off from a traffic stop. The Hyundai hit a taxi and a minivan, which then hit a building and caught fire.
The minivan was driven by Chamberlain E. Branch, 48, who was traveling alone. Both Belton and Branch died at the scene from mulitple trauma, according to Watts.
Three passengers in Belton's vehilce were transported to a local hospital in serious condition.
Branch was the South Carolina Governor's Mansion Supervisor.
Gov. Nikki Haley, First Gentleman Michael Haley and the First Family released the following statement Friday morning:
â??We are heartbroken and feel an incredible loss with Chamberlain's passing. Everyone who knew him loved him. His smile and laugh were contagious. He was a very special part of our family, and his gentle soul, good humor, and care will always be treasured memories for each of us. We ask that all South Carolinians lift up in prayer Chamberlainâ??s wife Cherisse and their three children during this difficult time.â??
According to online records, Belton has an extensive criminal record dating back to 2009. He was most recently charged with possession of crack just two weeks ago on Nov. 28.
The incident remains under investigation.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)