Man charged, granted bond for role in May jet ski wreck that killed 19-year-old woman
by Robert Joseph Baker | September 29, 2014 5:56 pm
A 25-year-old man accused of hitting a 19-year-old woman riding in May a jet ski in the waters of Lake Marion was formally charged Monday with reckless homicide by watercraft, a charge carrying up to 10 years in prison.
Clarendon County Magistrate Judge Elease Fulton granted Justin Reed Walters of Florence a $20,000 personal recognizance bond Monday afternoon, saying she saw him as neither a flight risk, nor a danger to society.
Walters is accused of colliding by boat May 20 with a jet ski ridden by Millicent McDonald in Clarendon County. McDonald was later airlifted to a Columbia hospital where she succumbed to her injuries.
McDonald’s mother, Melissa Grice, addressed Fulton during the bond hearing Monday, asking that bond be denied.
“There have been 132 days today that have passed without my daughter,” Grice said. “I feel like he is a danger to himself and to the community, especially considering other charges that have not made their way through the court system yet.”
According to a records search through the State Law Enforcement Division, Walters is facing a DUI charge from January 2013 in Florence County.
McDonald also pointed to a Walters’ posts on social media about the wreck, saying he indicated an ambivalence about his alleged role in the incident.
Jamie L. Walters, Walters’ attorney and brother, said his client has cooperated with DNR at all points.
“He has gone to every meeting and done what he is supposed to do,” Jamie L. Walters said. “This is a horrible and tragic accident. No words can ever be said to ease the family’s loss. But this could have happened to anyone of us in this courtroom.”