Friends remember victim of Aiken County fatal wreck

AIKEN COUNTY S.C.--A second passenger in Wednesday's crash on Dixie Clay Rd. in Aiken County died Friday.

Tyler Gardner died from his injuries, his father, Shane Gardner, said. Tyler's girlfriend, 18-year-old Helen Reid was killed at the scene.

The driver of the Jeep Cherokee, Austin Beard, was speeding when he went off Dixie Clay Road and hit a tree Wednesday afternoon, troopers said.

Lillian Brisson, a close friend of Reid's, said the two were like sisters.

"We did everything together," Brisson said. "We went everywhere together. I can't think of a single place in the city we didn't go."

Another friend of Reid's, Michael Rich, said she was the nicest person he knew.

"She was gorgeous, funny," he said. "We had a lot of jokes. We would go to the park at like 10 at night and just sit there and laugh and just have fun."

Friends and family say they are struggling to understand why Reid's life was cut short, along with her boyfriend's.

"It was not her time," Rich said. "She was perfect."

Reid was a musician and an amazing singer, her friends said. She takes after her father with her musical ability. He plays piano for Trinity on the Hill Methodist Church in Augusta.

"The choir, which is 80-100 strong adults, (has) been doing food for the family," said Rev. Mike Cash, the Senior Pastor at Trinity on the Hill UMC. "They've already carried over one load, I'm sure that will continue. And there will be a lunch on the day of the funeral."

Speed was a factor in the wreck, investigators said. Reid and her boyfriend, Gardner, were riding in a Jeep Cherokee with Austin Beard when Beard ran off the road, flipped and hit a tree.

Friends said the wreck makes them rethink their driving habits.

"It makes me not even want to drive," Brisson said.

Friends say they are trying to take this accident as a learning experience and a reminder of how life can change in the blink of an eye.

Visitation for Reid will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday at Platt's Funeral Home in Evans. The funeral will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at Trinity on the Hill in Augusta.


Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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