From Staff Reports
An Elgin youth described by a high school administrator as being “as full of life as anyone I’ve come across” died Monday when he was run over by his car in front of his home.
Fifteen-year-old Thomas Jason “T. J. Brown, a rising sophomore at Lugoff-Elgin High School, was pinned under the front axle of his 1986 Nissan sometime between midnight and 7 a.m., said Elgin Police Chief Jerry Dyson.
“It looks as though he had the car parked and out of gear, and the emergency brake no set,” Dyson said. “The car started rolling and he ran around infront to stop it, and his feet slipped on the grass. Apparently , it weighed a little more than he thought it did.”
An Elgin police officer found the body beneath the car in the front yard, Dyson said. The key was in the ignition, the chief said, but the car wasn’t running.
Kershaw County Coroner George Kornegay, who ruled the death accidental, said Brown and the victim’s sister were watching television together in the wee hours of Monday morning when Brown went to the car, “maybe to get a Coke.”
“He may have gone somewhere and come back,” Dyson said. “We don’t know.”
The car was parked on a grade in the U-shaped driveway of the home at 1001 Cherry Lane, Kornegay said.
A family member discovered the body Monday morning and called the police “shortly before 7 a.m.” Dyson said.
Apparently, either Brown didn’t have enough time to scream before the car crushed him or his sister had gone to sleep – as Brown’s parents had done earlier – and didn’t hear him. Dyson said. He was last seen alive about midnight.
The coroner said Brown had suffered extensive head and chest injuries.
Brown was a memeber of the high school soccer team and was active at Blaney Baptist Church.
“He was probably as full of life as anyone I’ve come across,” said Myra Canipe, assistant principal at Lugoff-Elgin. “Bright, vivacious, outgoing – a delightful young man.”
A fellow student agreed: “He was fun to be around, always cheerful and happy.” said Mitzi Mickle, a rising sophomore.
Miss Mickle said Brown managed to balance a serious religious commitment with an active social life outside of church. “He went out with his friends a lot,” she said “He attended almost all of the basketball games.”