At a media briefing today, the Greenville Police Department (GPD) announced they have charged a Taylors man with Reckless Driving for the “road rage” incident and collision on N. Pleasantburg Drive on September 18th that left a 13-year-old child in critical condition.
Norman Earl Gardner Jr., 56, was determined to have been the primary aggressor that led to the collision. This finding follows an extensive investigation conducted by the GPD Traffic Reconstruction Unit.
The “road rage” incident began at approximately 7 a.m. in the area of Rutherford Road and N. Pleasantburg when a driver of a silver sedan honked his horn at Gardner, who had reportedly cut him off. The incident continued to the collision site at N. Pleasantburg and Mallory Street just minutes later.
The Greenville City Fire Department, Greenville County EMS, and GPD units immediately responded to find a Good Samaritan rendering aid to the child, who was lying in the road unresponsive. At the briefing, GPD Lt. Alan Johnson praised and thanked the unknown individual for helping the victim until first responders arrived.
The Traffic Reconstruction Unit determined that Gardner lost control of his 2003 Chrysler PT Cruiser following his aggressive actions to include speeding and attempting to cut off the driver of the other car. Gardner’s vehicle struck the curb causing it to go onto the sidewalk before striking the 13-year-old victim, who was walking his 8-year-old sister to her bus stop. Gardner’s PT Cruiser continued across the sidewalk and hit a telephone pole, snapping it in half.
Police determined that Gardner was traveling approximately 75 miles per hour at the time he lost control of his vehicle, which is 30 miles an hour over the speed limit and during rush hour traffic.
Hours after the collision, the driver of the other vehicle involved in this incident contacted GPD officers after hearing about media reports of the accident from co-workers. He fully cooperated with the investigation and provided critical missing pieces of the incident. An inspection of his vehicle revealed no damage; therefore, no contact with Gardner’s PT Cruiser occurred.
The GPD charged Gardner with Reckless Driving and arrested him on September 24th. He was released the next day on a Personal Recognizance Bond. He is scheduled to appear before the Greenville Municipal Court on October 17, 2019 at 10 a.m. for the Reckless Driving charge.
With the family’s permission, the GPD also released an update on the victim’s condition, 13-year-old Welfred Hallens. He suffered multiple, critical injuries to include a significant blow to his head, which caused bleeding in his brain, fractures to his back, pelvis, wrist, ribs, and both knee caps. Welfred also has several broken bones in his neck.
He remains in an area medical facility. It is unknown how long his medical team will require him to remain there, but his recovery is expected to take up to a year or longer.