Two Timberlake girls killed in Myrtle Beach wreck
Posted July 22, 2015
Myrtle Beach, S.C. — Two Person County girls on a family vacation were killed Tuesday night in a crash in Myrtle Beach, authorities said.
Cousins Dakota Shepherd, 11, and Skyler Emore, 9, both of Timberlake, were riding in a Dodge minivan on U.S. Highway 17 Business that was hit by a Mercedes sedan as the minivan was turning left into a private driveway, according to South Carolina Highway Patrol troopers. The minivan then hit a parked car.
Dakota's parents and brother also were in the van at the time of the 8 p.m. crash. Her brother, Justin Whitlow, 22, was in intensive care at Grand Strand Regional Hospital, and his parents, Curtis and Suzy Shepherd, and three people who were in the Mercedes also were hospitalized. Their conditions were unknown Wednesday.
Neil DeJean, 47, of Duson, La., has been charged with two counts of reckless homicide and having an open container of beer or wine in a motor vehicle, according to the Highway Patrol.
Alcohol has been ruled out as a factor in the crash, but troopers are still investigating the role speed played.
Dakota was a rising sixth-grader at Southern Middle School in Roxboro, while Skyler attended a charter school in Roxboro.
"(They were) just two typical kids – loved to play," neighbor Tracey Campbell said. "Always smiling and playing. Just two wonderful young ladies."
The family left Monday morning – Whitlow's birthday – for a week in Myrtle Beach, according to Campbell, who said she was heartbroken to awaken Tuesday to the news of the girls' deaths.
Campbell said Suzy Shepherd was very close to her daughter.
"She took her daughter to school every day, picked her daughter up from the bus stop every day. Nine times out of 10, they were most times together," she said. "Just say big prayers for the family because they are going to need it in time."