Memorial held on birthday of Upstate teen killed in April Oconee - FOX Carolina 21

Memorial held on birthday of Upstate teen killed in April Oconee Co. crash

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Memorial held for teen killed in Oconee Co.crash (Source: Family) Memorial held for teen killed in Oconee Co.crash (Source: Family)
Cole Dylan Wheeler (Source: Family) Cole Dylan Wheeler (Source: Family)
Cole Dylan Wheeler pictured with friend. (Source: Family) Cole Dylan Wheeler pictured with friend. (Source: Family)
Memorial held at Cole Wheeler's gravesite on what would have been his 19th birthday. (Source: Family) Memorial held at Cole Wheeler's gravesite on what would have been his 19th birthday. (Source: Family)
OCONEE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Loved ones gathered on Saturday to celebrate the birthday of an Upstate teen and his twin brother, who passed away in a crash in April.

South Carolina Highway Patrol troopers and the Oconee County coroner investigated the fatal collision that claimed the life of then 18-year-old Cole Dylan Wheeler of Seneca man on the morning of April 23.

The collision occurred that Sunday morning at approximately 7:45 a.m. on US-76 near Johnny Cox Road, per troopers.

Wheeler was traveling south on US-76 in a 2004 Ford Mustang when he ran off the left side of the road, struck a guardrail and traveled down an embankment and into a tree, per trooper reports. The car then caught on fire, according to the coroner.

Wheeler became entrapped in the vehicle and was fatally injured. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Troopers say he was wearing a seat belt. No other vehicles or passengers were involved in the collision.

The coroner believed alcohol played a part in the crash.

After an autopsy, the coroner said Wheeler died from smoke inhalation and thermal injuries. His death was ruled accidental. 

Coroner Karl Addis said the investigation revealed that the teen attended an after-prom party somewhere in the Long Creek area. Addis said Wheeler did not attend the actual prom Saturday night; he had already graduated from high school.

Amanda Rogers, cousin of Cole Wheeler, grieves his loss along with the rest of his family.

"He was a great athlete, loving son, brother, nephew, uncle," said Rogers. "He was very smart and had a very bright future ahead of him."

Wheeler's cousin Daniel Rogers started an online fundraiser to help Wheeler's family cover the cost of a memorial headstone for Cole. You can donate to that fundraiser HERE.

The incident is under investigation.

More news: Coroner identifies men who died in Lake Murray boat crash

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