Family of late Midlands man forms bond with law enforcement in wake of tragedy

ORANGEBURG, SC (WOLO) — Even after an accident more than a decade ago, one Midlands family and members of law enforcement still have close ties.

Both are also still looking for answers in a case gone cold.

“Rodney was just a different kind of person. He would help anybody,” said Annie Williams about her late son. 

One of the last times Annie Williams saw her son Rodney was before he went to help a friend move in Columbia.

She remembers getting a knock on the door back in April of 2010 that would change her life.

“I went to the door and I saw the coroner, who I knew, and the highway patrol,” Williams remembers. “I knew it wasn’t good when I saw the two of them.”

They brought the news that Rodney Williams had been struck and killed by a vehicle in a hit and run accident. He was only 32 years old.

“I was devastated,” Rodney’s mother said. “I was devastated because Rodney was the youngest of three sons.”

Since Rodney’s death, his family has become close to members of law enforcement who they say have been there for them after the tragedy. 

“They treat us as human beings and understand that the loss is far greater than words,” said Rodney’s sister, Tina Bonaparte. 

“They’re kind of like my family,” said Sgt. Judd Jones of the South Carolina Highway Patrol. “My mom passed away a few years ago. I told Miss Annie Williams that she has to fill in that void. She’s been there ever since. Tina and the rest of them are like a part of my family.”

The hit and run accident that took Rodney’s life happened on Bluff Road, near Interstate 77. While it’s been more than 12 years without any answers, Rodney’s family as well as law enforcement believe the truth is still out there.

“I’m sure there’s somebody out there that could know the answers,” Jones said. “We’re not going to stop pursuing it. We never know, but we remain hopeful.”

“What inspires me is when I turn on the news and see a story about a 30 year old case being solved,” Bonaparte said. “It gives me hope and I believe.”

Thursday, Rodney’s family members presented Jones and others in law enforcement with tokens of appreciation.

Also since Rodney’s death, a scholarship for high school graduates has been created and awarded in his honor.

Categories: Local News, Orangeburg, Richland