Troopers said they are investigating a fatal, single-car crash in Oconee County that killed a 14-year-old driver and injured two other teens early Friday morning.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol said the crash happened along SC 24 near Eva Frank Road at 3:35 a.m.
Oconee County Coroner Karl Addis said the driver was Jesse Hannah, of Seneca. He said Hannah was driving when Westminster police tried to stop the car for a traffic violation, leading to a chase.
Westminster Police Chief Dean Awalt said the officer saw the car almost collide with another car when it ran a red light at the intersection of U.S. 123 and Highway 183, so the officer tried to stop the car.
The car fled from blue lights and later crashed along SC 24, Awalt said.
Troopers said the car was headed east when it ran off the right side of the road and overturned. According to troopers, three of four passengers were thrown from the crash, including the driver.
Addis said Hannah died at Oconee Medical Center, where the two other 16-year-old passengers were taken as well. Troopers said the fourth passenger was not taken to the hospital.
Awalt said the officer's car did not come in contact with the car and no officers were injured in the chase.
According to Addis, Hannah was a freshman at West Oak High School.
"It's a very tragic event, our hearts and prayers go out to the families involved in the accident," Awalt said. "It's tragic that this happened to a family on the holiday."
There is no word on the injured passengers' conditions.
"Jesse was a great kid and a great person. Nothing is ever going to be replace him," his mother, Melinda Hannah told FOX Carolina.
The young man's family said they do not believe reports their son was behind the wheel.
"Coroner come and told me and said there was alcohol in his system, but we don't feel like he was driving. We want his name cleared because he didn't exhibit to is that kind of risk-taking behavior," Hannah said.
"We would like to see the video cam from the police chase ... we want to see the dash cam," said the boy's mother.
The Highway Patrol, Westminster Police Department and Oconee County Coroner's Office are investigating the wreck.
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