USC Student's Family Wants Punishment for Man Charged in His Death

Annette Newell says her son was 'loving and caring' and was supposed to come home for Thanksgiving.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The family of a University of South Carolina student who was killed in a crash last week say they want to see the person responsible for his death punished. 

Relatives and friends of David Newell appeared in a Richland County bond hearing Tuesday for 24-year-old Charles Davenport Jr. 

Davenport, who is also a student at USC, is charged with felony DUI involving death following a crash that took place on November 15 along Rosewood Drive. Police say he ran his truck into the back of Newell's moped, causing both vehicles to go off the road and strike a nearby tree. 

"I want this man to be off the streets," said Newell's mother during the hearing. "He should not continue to be a menace to society to make it unsafe not just for my family but for the good of Columbia." 

During the hearing, Davenport said little, only answering the judge's questions. His parents were also at the hearing. 

Prosecutors say the suspect was "grossly intoxicated," and that witnesses told police he was driving at twice the posted speed limit. 

At the time of the collision, Newell, a senior from Maryland who was just 22-years-old, was on his way home from class after "acing" a test, his mom said.

"I got the call every mother dreads, and the police officer at my door to make sure we'd been informed." 

The collision broke Newell's vertebra, his mom explained, and stopped his heart. Although paramedics were able to revive him, he was brain dead. 

"Although we left in the middle of the night from Maryland to drive to Columbia, we were unable to say goodbye to our son," she said. 

She asked the trauma surgeon if her son's death could be delayed and not happen on last Friday, because that was also his older sister's birthday. 

"We didn't want the dates to coincide, for [her] to suffer the pain of celebrating her birthday on her little brother's day of death," she explained to the judge.

Her son was set to come home for Thanksgiving on Wednesday, see his family, then go back to Columbia Friday to get ready to watch the USC-Clemson football game. 

"Now instead of hugging my son--my handsome, smart, funny, caring son, a young man with a bright future-- tomorrow evening, instead at noon tomorrow I will be burying my only son, my youngest child, my baby."

Although the family is from Maryland, all three of her children choose to go to USC. And they say they've received an outpouring of support from the Gamecock community. 

"We always knew Southern hospitality but it's really really true. Everyone here has reached out to us," she said. "The university has been amazing."

Newell's girlfriend, Rachel Thomas, spoke after the hearing. She'd dated David for four years, and they knew each other from high school. 

"He was just dedicated and loving in everything that he did," Thomas said. "The world is really a darker place without him." 

She said the two were planning on starting a life together and had recently bought a puppy, which David enjoyed playing with. 

The family said they made the decision to donate his organs, including his heart. "That's the only way for us to make sense of this, that somehow, someone would benefit from this tragedy and he would live on through others," his mom said. 

Davenport was given a $75,000 bond by the judge. If he pays the amount, he'll have to have GPS monitoring, submit to alcohol tests, and is to have no contact with the victim or his family. 

 

 

 

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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