Update December 17: Nearly a month on from the fatal crash, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office has completed an investigation and is offering some insight.
The office wrote that:
Evidence collected at the crash site led responding agencies to believe that alcohol consumption may have been the cause of the accident.
During the course of the investigation, it was determined that alcoholic beverages had been purchased by Kendall Walton on three separate occasions prior to the accident. Video surveillance footage positively identifies Walton purchasing liquor at Island Liquors (70 Pope Ave) on November 12th, 14th, and again on the 16th. Identification was requested from Walton by store clerk, to which she produced a driver's license that represented her to be twenty-one years of age.
A driver's license was recovered among Walton's property belonging to a Savanna Clary of Bluffton. Clary was interviewed and she advised that she lost the license approximately a year and half earlier, had no affiliation with Walton, and had no idea how it ended up in Walton's possession.
Upon completing the investigation, it has been determined that Kendall Walton purchased the alcohol that was located in her vehicle on November 17th, and did so with a SC driver's license that did not belong to her but did portray her to be twenty-one years of age.
No criminal or administrative charges will be filed in this matter. Any further information requests regarding the accident investigation may be directed to the SC Highway Patrol.
For a slightly different report, The Island Packet has a write-up based on the release.
Update December 2: The Island Packet writes that while one of the two teens still hospitalized will likely come home this weekend, the other will need more intensive rehabilitation.
Update November 30: And, with a story titled "Teens recover after crash; authorities investigate possible alcohol use", the sad chapter of investigating how this happened has begun.
Update November 22: There was a memorial on Monday at First Presbyterian Church.
The Island Packet has a nice report that also offers some details on the four other teens that were injured; you can read it here.
With the initial shock fading from the news, at some point the nasty business of figuring out how this happened will start to filter out.
First reporting: Hilton Head Preparatory School senior Kendall Walton died on Thursday night when the car she was driving crashed into a tree on Hilton Head Island. Four other teens were hospitalized.