Family of victims faces hit-and-run suspect for the first time

Phillip Wucherer

By Eric

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) - For the first time, the families of those children seriously hurt in a weekend hit-and-run faced the man, officials say, struck all four kids with his car and then drove away.

The meeting in court led to an emotional uproar outside of the courtroom.

Phillip Wucherer, 22, was given a $600,000 bond for three counts of leaving the scene of a collision and causing great bodily injury, as well as one count of hit-and-run, causing personal injury.

Scolded by a General Sessions Court judge for a blank stare, as his charges were read against him, Wucherer had little to say to back. He did make a plea for lenience.

"Does it have any value whatsoever if I make mention, I have medical conditions of anxiety," Wucherer asked.

The judge replied with a brief answer of, "No."

Wucherer's request evoked emotions of all sorts from more than a half-dozen family members also in court. Afterwards, there was no holding back.

"I hope you (Wucherer) rot in hell," said Jim Hopkins, the victims' father. "Him standing there cold like he did, talking about his little problem that he has. I wanted to hit him."

"I wanted to throw up, and I still do," said the victims' mother, Tracey Hopkins.

According to court papers, Wucherer was driving his mother's car during the hit-and-run.

Investigators say it was her tip that led to his arrest.

For parents of the victims, this lack of admission only fueled their feelings that much more.

"My daughter's helpless, just helpless," said Amy Garska, another victim's mother. "And there shouldn't be any kid that has to go through that, no kid. And he (Wucherer) knew about it for a couple of days before they came and got him."

And while they're satisfied with the hearing's outcome, they say in no way can it help their children recover faster.

"It doesn't heal the kids, it doesn't help with what we have to do, it doesn't help the fact we're going to have hospital beds in our home," Tracey Hopkins said.

If Wucherer does make bail he'll be confined to house arrest, as well as a GPS tracking device, and drug and alcohol testing.

According to a SLED background check, Phillip Wucherer has past charges of criminal domestic violence. He's also listed in the report as a convicted sex offender.