Coroner ID’s 27-year-old killed in Carolina Forest crash involving HCS math teacher

Grand Strand

CAROLINA FOREST, S.C. (WBTW) — The Horry County Coroner has identified a 27-year-old woman who died in a crash on Carolina Forest Boulevard Monday night.

Horry County fire and police units and the South Carolina Highway Patrol responded about 9:30 p.m. to the scene at Stafford Drive near the Horry County Memorial Library and the Carolina Forest Rec Center in Carolina Forest.

Two cars were involved in the crash and one person died. The victim was identified as Leza Watts, who lived in the Carolina Forest area.

Watts was was a current student at Horry-Georgetown Technical College in the Teacher Education program.  She had already completed a degree with HGTC at the International Culinary Institute in culinary arts for baking and pastry work, according to the college. Coastal Carolina University has also confirmed that Watts was a former student, from 2012-2014.

Authorities charged Horry County Schools math teacher Michael Norman Oerther, 52, with felony driving under the influence resulting in death after the crash. He was given a $40,000 bond and remains in the J. Reuben Long Detention Center.

According to the SCHP, Oerther’s Jeep was headed west on Carolina Forest Boulevard when it hit the rear of a Honda that was stopped in the roadway at a traffic light. A rear-seat passenger, Watts, was one of three people in the Honda, and died in the collision, troopers said.

A spokeswoman for Horry County Schools confirmed Tuesday night that Oerther is a math teacher at Ocean Bay Middle School and that he had been placed on administrative leave as of Tuesday.

News13 was the first media outlet to report the crash and the teacher’s arrest. Count on News13 for updates.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories