‘This could have been prevented’: Mother of 12-year-old suspect in fatal crash speaks out

Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 11:44 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 8, 2022 at 4:56 PM EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The mother of a 12-year-old who was allegedly behind the wheel during a fatal collision in North Charleston says she had tried for months to get help for her son, but she was turned away several times.

Chimere McWhite has given her condolences to the Dent family after what happened a fatal crash following a police chase that ended on Dorchester Road near Michaux Parkway last week.

“This could have been prevented a long time ago because I’ve been asking for help,” McWhite said. “I’ve been trying to get him help. I’ve been doing everything I can as a parent to get him help.”

McWhite said she has been trying to get her 12-year-old son on the right path for months.

She said she has had to change her work schedule to take her child to the state Department of Juvenile Justice, but they would not take him.

“If they had heard me coming crying, bring him there saying ‘I want to leave him there,’” McWhite said. “Y’all can lock him up for a weekend, put him on an ankle monitor, send him to a bootcamp, but y’all can’t do anything because he’s 12 years old, but now, he’s still 12 years old and now look what happened.”

McWhite said her son had been smoking marijuana, sneaking outside and stealing her belongings, but she said in the department’s eyes, he was too young and did not have a criminal record.

“Why does it take for a child to have a charge on their record for y’all to do anything for them?” she asked.

A North Charleston Police spokesperson confirmed McWhite had previously filed two police reports against her son before the fatal crash. The spokesperson did not reveal what those reports were for.

“He didn’t go out there to kill nobody,” McWhite said. “He went out there because he stole my car while I was sleep in my bed, and he was supposed to be home in his bed.”

Her son has since returned home from the hospital following the crash.

She had this message to the Department of Juvenile Justice to help make sure this does not happen again.

“I would like them to listen to parents that are reaching out to them for help for their children,” she said. “That’s the main thing I want for anybody right now because I would never think about me going through this situation.”

The Department of Juvenile Justice issued the following statement on the incident:

Beginning in January of this year, the SCDJJ has had multiple interactions with this mother. A social worker, intake officer and a prevention and intervention specialist with the Charleston County DJJ office attempted to provide assistance for this youth who, according to his mother, was displaying incorrigible behavior in the home. South Carolina law requires a court order before a 12-year-old can be detained and we strongly believe in exhausting all community resources before involving status offenders, especially younger ones, with the juvenile justice system. Assistance was offered to the mother. Our thoughts are with the families and communities for all involved in this terrible tragedy.

McWhite said her son’s next court date will be on July 29.

Family and community members gathered in North Charleston Thursday night to honor two women who died in the crash.

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