A fatal auto accident occurred Monday morning which took the life of a young child. Seven-year-old Queniya Tykia Shelton from Spartanburg county was pronounced dead Tuesday evening after being thrown from a sport utility vehicle following a high-speed chase on Interstate 85 the day before.
The wreck occurred near Gossett and Battleground roads and shut down the southbound lanes of I-85 for more than an hour. According to Spartanburg County deputies, the SUV was spotted driving erratically, following too closely and making improper lane changes, and concerned deputies attempted to pull the vehicle over.
The SUV exceeded 100 mph and passed other cars in the emergency lane as it headed northbound on I-85 trying to elude officers. The driver eventually over-corrected and flipped the SUV into the southbound lanes of I-85, ejecting the child from the vehicle. The S.C. Highway Patrol received the initial call for the collision at 9:21 a.m. and the driver and the child were rushed to Spartanburg Regional Medical Center.
The driver of the van was Errika Dominique. There have been conflicting reports that she was either the child’s mother or aunt. She suffered broken bones but is expected to survive. Deputies reported that she was driving under suspension and the agency is awaiting test results to see if she was under the influence of marijuana.
According to reports, neither the driver nor the child was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident. Deputies have reason to believe that the child was being instructed by the driver to throw marijuana out of the car and that is the reason the child was out of the safety belt. Investigators recovered about a half a pound of marijuana.
Sheriff’s deputies did not know a child was in the vehicle at the time of the chase and reported they may have backed off some had they known. However, Sheriff Chuck Wright acknowledged that just because you have a child in the car, it does not mean deputies won't pursue and arrest someone. He said the deputies did everything right and followed proper protocol. Wright also pointed out that there is no good reason to run with a child in the car with you and the driver, Errika Dominique, is responsible for this tragedy and she will have to pay for it.