Man sentenced two years after wreck

A Williston man was sentenced April 2 in Barnwell County Court for the death of his cousin.
Eric Eubanks, 21, offered a plea of guilty to one charge of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Jonathan Myers of Barnwell. The plea was part of a deal brokered between Eubanks' lawyer and the solicitor's office. Eubanks was originally charged with reckless homicide.
Eubanks offered a plea because he felt he could not win a jury trial, his lawyer, William Kemp, said.
Circuit Court Judge Jack Early sentenced Eubanks to five years probation including one year under house arrest. Eubanks will only be able to leave his home for work and to do his 300 hours of public service, which was part of his sentencing. He will also have to submit to random alcohol and drug tests.
Myers died April 27, 2011, at the scene of a two-car accident. He was driving a 2002 Ford F-150 south on Moonlight Road three miles south of Williston. Eubanks was driving a 2005 GMC pickup north on Moonlight Road. The two cars ended up in a head-on collision. Eubanks and Myers were not wearing their seatbelts. Myers died of severe chest trauma.
What remains unclear is how the accident happened.
Eubanks has stated he does not remember the moments leading up to the accident. The passenger in his vehicle, Alesia Scarborough, has also maintained she doesn't remember. Both spent time in the hospital after the accident.
The passenger in Myers' vehicle, Lauren Frederick, suffered multiple broken bones, brain injury and was hospitalized for months.
No alcohol or drugs were involved and there was no sign of speeding, according to officials.
An officer who interviewed Eubanks at the hospital after the accident reported Eubanks told him he may have been playing "chicken" with Myers, but Eubanks later said he had no recollection of ever saying that to the officer.
The tragedy in the case is not only were the two men cousins, they were also best friends.
Pastor Charlie Morris of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church read a letter on behalf of Myers' family, many of whom were in attendance. The letter said Myers "loved life" and would do anything he could to help someone.
Bill Frederick, Lauren's father, told the court his daughter survived "by the grace of God," and that the two families had not seen any remorse nor received an apology from Eubanks.
The families, once very close, have been torn apart since the accident, Kemp said.
Eubanks' father, Charles, spoke of his son's and Myers' long friendship. He held up a picture of the two together when they were both one year old.
"Eric lost his best friend," he said.
Before the judge handed down his sentence, Eric Eubanks turned to the Myers and Frederick families and said he's "honestly sorry" for what happened. He said there are days when he wishes he could call Myers but knows he can't.
"I love y'all," he said
Judge Early wiped away tears as Eubanks spoke and said afterward these are his toughest days in court.
"My job is to punish but not to destroy your life and further destroy the family," he said before handing down the sentence.
Myers was a 2009 graduate of Barnwell High School, a member of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church and attended Williston First Baptist Church. He was a member of the Elko and Long Branch fire departments.
Other court news:
A West Columbia man was found guilty of molesting a young boy after a two-day trial that ended April 2.
Eric Vancleave, 35, was sentenced to 20 years after the jury found him guilty of four charges stemming from incidents that occurred at Barnwell State Park from 2002 to 2005.
He was convicted of second degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, committing a lewd act on a minor, criminal sexual conduct, and assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. He received the maximum sentence on each charge, but they will be served concurrently.
The victim is not from Barnwell County.
Vancleave is a former Lexington School District 2 substitute teacher and was part of a Cayce ministry group where he befriended the victim and other boys. Prosecutors said he sexually abused one of the boys during overnight camping trips at the park.
Vancleave faces more charges in Lexington County involving other victims. He was arrested in 2010 by U.S. Marshals after a joint investigation involving state and Lexington County authorities.