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Walterboro family remembers husband, father killed in crash

(WCIV)

A Walterboro family is mourning a husband and father killed in a crash on Highway 61.

"It's been somber," said Christine Brown, the daughter of 53-year-old Willie Brown Jr. He was killed while driving to work around 4 a.m. Saturday morning. He worked at the VA Hospital, and was a veteran who served in the Navy.

The other driver in that accident was 26-year-old Brandon Earwood, who's charged with felony DUI and resulting in death, according to SCHP.

Earwood was booked into the Dorchester County Detention Center following the deadly crash, which happened around 4 a.m. on Saturday, February 2nd.

"The most frustrating thing at this point is just the senselessness of DUI," Christine Brown added. "They can take into consideration the lives of others, but unfortunately they don’t."

"It's going to be a rough journey," said Brown Junior's sister Angie Salley. "We’ve always had concerns about the infrastructure and the safety of Highway 61. I definitely have huge concerns about DUI, and I definitely have major concerns about penalties in SC and how we handle those."

"We have to start policing ourselves," said Justin Bamberg, a representative for Walterboro in the South Carolina State House. Bamberg also represents Brown Jr's family. He says rumble strips and wider lanes could be coming to Highway 61 as part of the Rural Road Safety Plan. Even that, he said, isn't enough to protect against people driving under the influence.

"It's an accident that has nothing to do with the condition of Highway 61, and the fact that someone made a bad decision," he said.

"I want to find more forgiveness in my heart, I do," Christine Brown said.

It's a search that puts into focus a perfect picture of the veteran still giving his family a reason to come together.

"Although you’re sad he’s departed from us, you have those good memories to still hold on to," Christine Brown said. "That's the thing bringing all of us comfort right now."

The VA Hospital issued this statement regarding Brown Jr's Death:

"The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center family is deeply saddened by the loss of our team member Willie Louis Brown, Jr. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time."
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