Petition Circulates to Keep Driver in Fatal Wreck Locked Up - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/18/05

Petition Circulates to Keep Driver in Fatal Wreck Locked Up

Family members of the six people killed in a two-car crash in Jasper County are taking an extra step to make sure the Hardeeville man who caused the wreck stays behind bars. Raymond Kelly, Jr., is being held on a $350,000 bond at the Jasper County Detention Center and family members are circulating a petition to keep him there.

Pictures and memories are all Connie Jenkins has left of her son Jamal Thomas after a fatal car crash last month. "Jamal meant the world to me," she said. "We were close. He was my only child."

Her son was one of six people killed when Kelly crossed the center line and struck Thomas' vehicle. The families of these six victims may not have been able to do anything to prevent the accident, but they're making sure it doesn't happen to anyone else.

The victims' families are coming together and fighting for what they call justice. They're circulating petitions around local businesses and going door to door, getting signatures to keep Kelly behind bars and off the streets.

"I don't feel he should be able to get out and walk free," said Elizabeth Taylor, Thomas' aunt.

Kelly has a rap sheet of more than a dozen driving offenses and drug violations, and the victims' families say they're concerned a bond reduction could be fatal.

"I don't feel he should be bonded out, because at the time he killed six people he was under suspension," said Taylor. "He didn't have a license."

"He'll drive without a license, someone else will get hurt," said Jenkins. "That's my fear."

And one by one, the community is taking time out to support these families. "I don't know any of the victims, but I feel he should be punished for what he did," said Alice Boyd of Hardeeville.

The petitions are circulating all over the Low Country from Ridgeland to Hilton Head Island, and family members tell us they plan on submitting all the signatures to the solicitor.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

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