Mother of 4-year-old killed in hit-and-run defends grandmother charged in case

4YO Florence girl killed in hit-and-run remembered

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – The South Carolina Highway Patrol arrested the driver accused in a hit-and-run in Florence County that killed a four-year-old girl.

Eric Snowden, 39, was arrested and charged Monday afternoon with leaving the scene of a crash involving death. He is now in the Florence County Detention Center.

Eric Snowden (Source: Florence County Detention Center)
Eric Snowden (Source: Florence County Detention Center)

The crash happened Friday night in the area of Pamplico Highway and Lakeview Drive.

The Florence County Coroner’s Office said four-year-old Emily Grace Hall of Florence died.

“My little girl she was my little mini-me and she was just so happy, so full of energy, so full of life,” Emily’s mother, Danielle Lawson, said.

The night of the crash, Lawson said she was on the way to get her daughter from her mother’s house when she noticed traffic backed up along the street.

Lawson said she became overwhelmed with a gut feeling and would soon find out her daughter lost her life on that stretch of highway.

“For some reason I just could feel it. I just knew something was wrong... I just knew,” she said.

Officials said Emily was being pushed in a stroller by her grandmother when the incident occurred.

The four-year-old’s grandmother has also been charged in the case.

South Carolina Highway Patrol Cpl. Sonny Collins said Priscilla Marie Clendenin was charged with unlawful neglect because she was intoxicated when the crash occurred.

Priscilla Marie Clendenin (Source: Florence County Detention Center)
Priscilla Marie Clendenin (Source: Florence County Detention Center)

However, Clendenin said that wasn’t the case.

“I would never ever put my grandchildren in harm’s way to get hurt, ever. I would rather it be me a million times over than it to be her,” Clendenin said.

Lawson also disagrees with the charge.

"My mom would never ever intentionally harm any of her grandchildren and I know my mom did not mean for this to happen,” Lawson said.

Clendenin said she’s always walked across Pamplico Highway, making sure to look both ways before stepping out every time.

“I don’t know where he come from, but he was going so very fast, never stopped, didn’t care,” Clendenin said tearing up.

Lawson said Emily would always help her through tough times remembering her little girl’s positivity now more than ever before.

“I need to be strong. I have a one-year-old and I need to be strong for her but I just don’t know,” Lawson said. “It’s just hard.”

The family has set up a gofundme to help with funeral expenses.

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