Deputies blame wheelchair rider for crash that killed him

Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 11:52 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - An accident report is shedding more light on a weekend crash that killed a 63-year-old man in a wheelchair – and it blames the dead man for the accident.

John Cummings, of the 2500 block of Dover Street, was struck by a vehicle at 5:23 p.m. Saturday while riding his power wheelchair on Deans Bridge Road at Ridge Road.

He was taken to Augusta University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead on Saturday at 6:46 p.m. He died of blunt-force trauma and no autopsy is scheduled, according to Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen.

According to an accident report obtained Wednesday from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, Cummings was traveling north on Deans Bridge on his Hover Round Power Chair in the right thru-lane of traffic.

The 2019 Toyota Corolla that struck him was also northbound in the right thru-lane and hit the rear of Cummings’ wheelchair, according to the report.

According to the report, Cummings was thrown from the wheelchair. The crash happened at 3030 Deans Bridge Road – directly in the intersection with Ridge Road – but Cummings ended up at 3028 Deans Bridge Road, according to the report.

The driver of the vehicle, a 34-year-old woman, stated that she didn’t see Cummings “until the last second,” according to the report. The driver further stated that Cummings “came out of nowhere,” according to the report.

The accident report notes that the sun was out, the weather was clear and the road surface was dry. Deans Bridge has three lanes of traffic in each direction, with a raised median dividing each direction, according to a diagram accompanying the report.

The investigation found Cummings at fault in the accident “for darting into the roadway.”

The deadly crash was among several across the region in the span of three days.

The others included:

  • A 4-year-old after a Friday afternoon crash in Orangeburg County. According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the crash happened around 3:26 p.m. on private property near the 200 block of Belfast Avenue. Troopers say a 2020 Dodge pickup was traveling south on the property when it struck the girl standing on the property. The driver of the Dodge was not injured. The Orangeburg County coroner identified the victim as Lorelei Klopp of Belfast Avenue.
  • On Saturday night, one person was killed in a car accident on Fort Motte Road at Dillon Court, about eight miles north of Calhoun. According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the accident happened around 9:30 p.m. when the driver of a 2003 Chevy S-10 pickup truck ran off the left side of the road and hit an embankment, causing the truck to flip. The driver, who was the sole occupant of the vehicle, was pronounced dead on the scene.
  • A Batesburg man died after an all-terrain vehicle accident in Aiken County. Aiken County Coroner Darryl Ables has identified the victim as 23-year-old Dyrth R. Fulmer. Ables said the accident happened around 1:30 a.m. Saturday on private property on Holder Road near Hadden Road a few miles southeast of Monetta. According to the coroner, the accident happened when Fulmer lost control of the ATV, a CanAm BRP side by side, after hitting a slight embankment and flipping over while traveling north on Holder Road.