NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Following two days of testimony in a trial last week, a judge did not find enough evidence to convict a Ladson man of racing, which resulted in a four-vehicle crash which killed three people in 2017.
Lawrence Maurice Ravenel, 48, was accused of racing, reckless homicide, and hit-and-run.
Witnesses testified that Ravenel and his cousin, Elijah Simmons, were racing on Dorchester Road near Industrial Avenue in North Charleston in the early evening on May 13, 2017. During the race, Simmons lost control of his Chevy Camaro, sideswiped a CARTA bus then careened into a Buick sedan. Simmons, as well as two people in the sedan, died in the crash.
Ravenel did not provide his information to officers who were at the scene or report his role in the crash. Simmons’ camero was travelling 99 mph before he lost control.
As the state presented witnesses, the judge determined no evidence showed Ravenel and Simmons made an agreement to race, only that two cars were speeding next to each other. Additionally, the judge determined that the state demonstrated Ravenel was not physically involved in the crash. Therefore the judge ruled Ravenel was not criminally responsible for the deaths and had no duty to stay at the scene.
The state maintained the “race” was the cause of death, but the judge granted a not guilty verdict, and hence precluded the jury from deciding the case.