PICKENS COUNTY, SC (FOX Carolina) - South Carolina Highway Patrol says a passenger died Saturday afternoon after a collision on a Pickens County roadway.
Troopers say the accident happened on Dacusville Highway, near Little Pond Road, around 3 p.m. The scene was still active into the early part of the evening.
Troopers later revealed the collision involved a 2002 Chevrolet SUV. Inside that car was the driver and one passenger. We're told the SUV was traveling south when it went off the right side of the road. However, the driver over-corrected, and the car when down an embankment on the left side of the road before hitting several trees.
The driver was taken to a nearby hospital with life-threatening injuries, but the passenger was pronounced dead on the scene.
On Sunday, November 24, the Pickens County Coroner's Office identified the passenger as 12-year-old Kelsi Merck of Easley. She was wearing a seat belt at the time of the collision, but tragically suffered blunt force trauma.
The Pickens County School District said the young girl was a seventh grader at Dacusville Middle School. They released a statement following Kelsi's passing:
This weekend, the Dacusville Middle School family is grieving the loss of 7th grade student Kelsi Merck. Kelsi was a Dacusville cheerleader and an honor student. She had served a year as a member on our student council during her time at Dacusville. Kelsi was a remarkable young lady and will always be remembered for her friendship and kindness to others.
Kelsi is the second DMS student to pass away this week. Our hearts are broken, and we appreciate the outpouring of support that you have shown and will continue to show for each other and for our students. I encourage you to talk to your children before Monday to offer emotional support and to ensure that they are prepared to return to school. As before, we will have counselors available at the school for students who need help while grieving the loss of their friends.
Our hearts and minds are with the Merck family this week. If you have any questions about how DMS will continue to support students this week, please don't hesitate to reach out.
Kelsi's aunt, Sharon Merck, said her two sons, ages 5 and 8 were also passengers in the car.
"My 5-year old was released Saturday night with minor injuries and my 8-year-old was in trauma then PICU until late last night," Merck said in a message to FOX Carolina. She said the older boy suffered internal injuries and a concussion.
Kelsi's family will be receiving friends and loved ones at Mountain View Funeral home in Pickens from 1-3 p.m. on Wednesday. The burial will be at Hillcrest afterwards.
The collision remains under investigation by SCHP.