Woman drove into children, police say

Amy Lynn Stewart

SUMMERVILLE -- Narrow and tree-lined, Iris Street is used daily by residents of the Robynwood subdivision to get to and from Alston Middle School.

Sidewalks are sparse in the neighborhood, forcing children to sometimes walk on the shoulder of the road.

Sometimes, they walk in the road itself.

On Thursday morning, police said, a woman drove her 1997 Ford Taurus into a group of them.

She told investigators after striking the four children that she wanted to "knock the daylights out of them."

The woman told police the children had refused to move out of her way as she was driving her own children to school.

According to Summerville police and to arrest warrants, the incident took place about 8 a.m. A group of children was walking to school when

a vehicle approached them at the intersection of Tulip Drive and Iris Street. There is no sidewalk at the intersection.

The driver honked her horn.

When the children didn't move, she drove into the crowd of about a dozen children, striking four: one 14-year-old, two 13-year-olds and one 12-year-old, police Capt. Jon Rogers said.

Dorchester County EMS took one of the children to Summerville Medical Center, where the child was treated and released, Rogers said.

The three other injured children were treated on the scene by EMS, he said.

Amy Lynn Stewart, 34, of Wadmalaw Circle, is charged with four counts of first-degree assault and battery. She was being held in the Dorchester County Detention Center on $40,000 bail set Thursday by Summerville Municipal Judge Tom Finucan. Stewart faces up to 10 years in prison on each count.

During the bond hearing, Finucan asked Stewart if she had been diagnosed with any mental problems. She told him she was being treated by a psychiatrist but she did not say what her diagnosis was. She rattled off a list of medications that included Prozac, an antidepressant.

Stewart does not have any prior arrests or convictions in South Carolina, according to a State Law Enforcement Division criminal history check.

Before deciding on a bond, Finucan asked if anyone wanted to speak on behalf of the children who were hit.

Two women who identified themselves as mothers of the children spoke to the judge.

"The kids have said that she has threatened them with the car before," one woman said, as she urged Finucan to set a surety bond. "This is not the first time that she's driven up close to them."

"I think she is a danger to the community," said another woman.

She said the children are scared and parents are now all worried about the safety of their children walking to school.

If Stewart posts bail and is released, she is to refrain from any contact with the children or their families as a condition of her bond, Finucan said.

Reach David W. MacDougall at 937-5655 or Andy Paras at 937-5589.