Rescue crews pull out submerged vehicle in Penny Creek, 3 dead

(Stefanie Bainum/WCIV)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Three people are dead after a vehicle became partially submerged in the water at St. Johns Yacht Harbor, officials said. The marina is located on the Stono River off Maybank Highway on Johns Island. The SUV was in Penny Creek which branches out from the Stono.

The Charleston County coroner identified the victims as Don Dent, 50, Mary Wesley Simmonds, 35, and Allyson Key, 38. All three victims were residents of Johns Island.

The coroner said the findings are consistent with drowning for all three victims.

"I am in a little bit of shock," said Sue Crawford, a friend of the victims.

Crawford said she just spoke to Key, one of her best friends, on Wednesday.

"It was a great conversation. I told her I loved her. A part of my sister died today and a part of our family died today," she said.

Police said they got a call around 7:30 a.m. about a car submerged in Penny Creek.

Tracks showed the car leaving the Yacht Club, but cutting a curve too wide. From there, the tracks crossed the road, went through the grass and ended at the water's edge.

"We want to say, 'Why did this happen?' Well maybe drinking was involved, or maybe they were doing this. At this point, like I will tell my children this afternoon, it doesn't matter," Crawford said. "It's just another lesson to learn to enjoy life to the fullest because you never know when your number's up."

She said their deaths will have an impact on the community.

"This is going to be devastating for Johns Island. Johns Island is a strong community and they'll come together. I'm almost glad all three of them were together because if one had not been with them it would've been a tough road for them," she said.

Crawford said Dent just turned 50 and was a great father. She described Simmonds as an animal lover who worked at a vet clinic.

She said Simmonds's dog was in the car and died as well.

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