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Published: Monday, 11/19/2012 - Updated: 3 years ago

Michigan teen dies in crash with suspected drunken driver


A southeast Michigan teenager was killed and his family members injured when they were struck by a suspected drunken driver Sunday night on their way to Florida for a Thanksgiving cruise.

James F. Williams, 16, of New Boston, Mich., in southwest Wayne County, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash on I-77 in Fairfield County, S.C., about 20 miles north of Columbia. His father, James K. Williams, 48, who works as retail advertising manager for The Blade, was taken to Palmetto Health Richland Hospital in Columbia, where no information on his condition was available today.

Also injured in the crash was Mr. Williams’ wife, Krista; their daughter, Kali, 17, and son, Caden, 7. Two other passengers in the SUV also were injured, including Luke Sturgill, who was treated and released at the hospital, according to a hospital spokesman. Caden Williams was in stable condition at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital. Information on the other passengers was unavailable.

According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the elder Mr. Williams was southbound on I-77 about 6:45 p.m. Sunday when his sport utility vehicle was struck by a southbound car driven by Ricky Lance Deel, 34, of Beaufort, S.C.

Trooper Billy Elder said Mr. Deel was taken to the Fairfield County Detention Center in Winnsboro, S.C., where he was being held on three felony counts of driving under the influence. One charge specifies that death was involved, while the other two charges state that great bodily injury resulted.

Trooper Elder said he could not comment on how the collision occurred. The patrol’s Major Accident Investigation Team is investigating, he said.

Bill Nolan, director of human resources at The Blade, said Mr. Williams had been working at the newspaper as a consultant for several months and was hired as retail advertising manager Nov. 12. He said the Williams’ family had planned the vacation for some time.

“He was taking his family to the Bahamas on a cruise, and they were driving down to Florida to catch the cruise ship,” Mr. Nolan said. “This is terrible.”

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