Groom recounts fatal Folly hit-and-run: 'I heard people screaming'
FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCIV) -- The North Carolina man who was on Folly Beach celebrating his upcoming wedding says his bachelor party turned deadly when a vehicle hit two of his close friends.
Now Drew Sykes and his groomsmen are mourning the loss of a close friend.
On Ashley Avenue, orange paint still marks the spot where the accident happened early Saturday morning.
According to Charleston County deputies, the crash happened around 2:15 a.m. on West Ashley Avenue between Second and Third streets. Deputies say a Honda SUV swerved off the road hitting the pedestrians and then drove away.
The night of celebrating on the beach was cut short.
"I was walking out and walking out of Loggerheads when I heard what sounded like a vehicle hitting something. It was a loud noise. It was a very unpleasant noise," Sykes said. "I heard people screaming. I heard my friend Phil yell, 'Stop that car!'"
What Sykes saw next was his best friend Justin Plumlee lying motionless on the ground. Just a few feet away, another of Sykes' friends was lying on his stomach. That man, Ryan Daniels, was still conscious.
"We had no idea what the full situation was. There was someone out there who came up to me. Someone told them it was my bachelor party. Just had strangers come hug me and tell me it would be okay," he said. "I'll never see them again but I don't think they will ever understand how significant that hug was."
Both victims were rush to Medical University Hospital. Daniels was in serious condition, and Plumlee was in critical condition. Plumlee died several hours later.
"There are really no words to describe that. He and Ryan, just such great guys. They have the biggest hearts. It's love that's pushing us forward right now," Sykes said.Plumlee was just two weeks away from his 30th birthday.
Charleston County deputies initially charged Andrew Robert Lanzaro with leaving the scene of an accident with bodily harm. Those charges were upgraded to reckless homicide after Plumlee died. The charges were upgraded again to leaving the scene of a crash involving death, a felony that carries up to 25 years in prison.
A background check on Lanzaro shows other alcohol-related arrests in his recent past, including a July 18 public drunkenness incident and a DUI on Folly Beach a week earlier.