Deputies reconstruct Highway 302 accident

By: Stephanie Baker
By: Stephanie Baker

Investigators are learning more about a deadly crash in Aiken County.

Saturday, July 1, deputies say 36-year-old Virginia Cantara hit a tree after chasing her estranged husband Thomas' car down South Carolina highway 302.

Wednesday, July 5, South Carolina state troopers put it all together to find out exactly how the crash happened.

The scene was a mess Saturday--tire marks in different directions, a busted up tree back in the woods, pieces of the cars scattered. The families want to know how this happened.

"It's really terrible, when they told me it happened, I'm still kind of dazed about it," says Thomas' sister Shelby Widner.

"Disbelief," says Virginia's sister April Greene. "I'm not sure what was going on."

Troopers are using the direction of the tire tracks, the places the cars got hit, and the gash in the tree to figure out how the crash happened.

"Bottom line, you want to let the victims and families know exactly what happened in the collision," says Lt. Randall Maffett of the South Carolina State Patrol.

Troopers will put the information into a computer simulation.

Here's how it might look.

They say Virginia Cantara drove her blue Saturn after her estranged husband's yellow Mustang.

She hit him on the back left corner, spinning him into the oncoming lane and off the road.

Mrs. Cantara lost control and spun the other way, right into a tree.

From the point of impact she went about 75 feet through the woods, flipping over several times, and ended up hitting a tree while she was still upside down.

The final report from the reconstruction will also show each car's speed, and the force of impact each driver felt.

It may also help give closure to the families.

The couple was separated. The husband picked up their 15-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter for a visit.

Family members tell us Mrs. Cantara was worried she wouldn't get them back, and that's why she followed him.

The reconstruction, from the map to the documents to the computer simulation, should be complete in 40 days.

State troopers say these simulations are often used for clues in both criminal and civil cases.


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