The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday that investigators have determined that the Sumter woman who died in a Tuesday crash was the victim of her own road rage, as she was attempting to run another car off the road when her car overturned and burst into flames.
“This is a tragic situation that never should have happened,” said Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis. “On television and in movies you often see a vehicle force another one off the road. But, in real life, it doesn’t work that way, and the results can be deadly, which is exactly what happened here.”
Killed in the wreck was 24-year-old Teona Yolanda Tyler, who was ejected from her car as it turned over and burst into flames on Dubose Siding Road around 3:30 am Tuesday.
Minutes after the fatal wreck, authorities received a phone call from another person about a wreck on Dubose Siding Road. According to Deputy Ken Bell, spokesman for the sheriff’a office, the officer receiving the call thought it was for a separate incident, and told the caller to go home and an officer would come to the home as soon as they finished working the fatal wreck. The caller then advised that they knew who hit their vehicle and identified Tyler as the other driver.
Deputies spoke with the other driver who said that Tyler had threatened her earlier in the evening so, to avoid another confrontation, she drove away as Tyler arrived. She said Tyler followed her and then pulled her vehicle alongside of the victim and slammed into the side of the victim’s vehicle, apparently in an attempt to force it off of the roadway. Instead, apparently shortly after that reported collision, Tyler’s vehicle left the roadway and struck a utility pole and overturned onto its side before catching fire.
The caller said when Tyler’s vehicle struck hers, the caller’s side airbags deployed, several lights inside her vehicle came on and she could not see what happened to Tyler’s vehicle. She said she continued to drive along Dubose Siding Road to Westbury Mill to be sure Tyler was not still following her before stopping to call 911.
Dennis said he regrets that Tyler died but is glad that no one else was injured or killed in this incident.
“It appears she drove on the wrong side of the road in order to pull up beside another vehicle,” he said. “Had traffic been coming in the opposite direction, even more people might have died. As horrible as this is, it could have easily been much worse.”
SCSO has requested a MAIT team investigation from the SCHP in order to further confirm the evidence surrounding this tragic and avoidable event.