Current weather

  • Clear sky
  • 84°
    Clear sky
  • Comment

Teen hit by truck dies

Posted: October 10, 2013 - 1:22pm  |  Updated: October 13, 2013 - 12:05am
Kenneth GIll, the driver of a pickup that struck two boys on a go-kart, talks on the phone.  Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Kenneth GIll, the driver of a pickup that struck two boys on a go-kart, talks on the phone.

Columbia County sheriff’s investigators suspect the driver who killed a 14-year-old Evans boy Thursday, was distracted by his cell phone when he veered off of Hardy McManus Road and plowed into the boy on a go-kart.

Tyler J. Smith, 14, was pronounced dead at 12:16 p.m. at Georgia Regents Medical Center, where he had been airlift after the crash, according to Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins.

“He’s just a real good kid,” said Pat Becton, who has rented the Hardy McManus Road home to the Smith family for about a year. “It’s a sad situation, It’s something that did not need to happen.”

Kenneth Earl Gill, 59, of North Augusta, was charged with first degree vehicular homicide, reckless driving, failure to maintain lane and driver to exercise due care, proper use of radios and mobile telephones. He was booked and released from the Columbia County Detention Center on a $13,300 bond, according to jail records.

Tyler and his 6-year-old brother, Jonathan, were hit by Gill’s east-bound Dodge pickup just after 11 a.m. Investigators suspect that Gill was distracted by his cellphone at the time of the wreck.

“Distracted, (Gill) left the roadway,” Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris said.

The teen, who was being home-schooled, and his 6-year-old brother, Jonathan, were hit by Gill’s east-bound Dodge pickup truck just after 11 a.m. The boys were near the end of the driveway of their home on the 4500 block of Hardy McManus Road, Morris said.

“He was just making a U-turn,” said Becton. “And he stood up and when he did, he pushed the little boy with his hands for him to go down the hill.”

Authorities said the 6-year-old was only brushed by the truck and not seriously injured in the crash.

Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Sharif Chochol said it appeared that Tyler was sitting on a go-kart and his brother were standing nearby when the truck veered onto the shoulder and skiddeed to a stop at the base of a steep embankment across from Woodruff Way. It appears they had been riding the go-kart up and down the driveway and were not in the road, Morris said.

Scott Stephens said he and his wife arrived on the scene just after the accident occurred. He said the boy’s mother waved him down, so he pulled over.

Stephens said when he got to the truck he saw the teen was pinned beneath one of the truck’s rear wheels. He said several people quickly came to the boy’s aid.

“We just jumped in and pulled the truck off of him and started CPR,” Stephens said.

  • Comment

Comments (3)

Sweet son

Terrible accident but just wondering,

Why weren't they at school?


They were homeschooled.

They were homeschooled.

Sweet son

So Sad!

Thanks for the update peanut. Guess they were on recess from home school but just wish it hadn't been along that busy road. It seems from the current story that the driver was distracted. Just another example of why all Americans should get their eyes out of their palms (out of their a**es) and into our beautiful world.

Senseless tragedy!

Follow News-Times:

News-Times Video »


  • Main: 706-868-1222
  • Fax: 706-823-6062
  • Email:
  • 4272 Washington Rd, Suite 3B, Evans, Ga. 30809