Legal troubles mount for New Year’s motorist

Legal troubles are mounting against a young Seneca woman whose two small children were killed at night January 1 in a one-car accident. The highway patrol charged Melissa Cassandra Patton with driving under suspension and felony driving under the influence, death results. Yesterday a Columbia attorney, on behalf of Utica Baptist Church, filed a civil lawsuit against Patton and a second person, alleging they should be responsible for the damages to a church sign struck by the car. The lawsuit alleges Patton was driving a car owned by the co-defendant, Seneca resident Kevin Moyers. Trial by jury is requested in the Oconee Common Pleas Court. The accident, reported at 2:15 in the morning New Year’s Day, occurred on the Wells Highway and took the life of Patton’s children—one-year old Taniya Chavez Leann Gambrell and four-year old Sariya Unique Patton-Dean. The lawsuit, filed by T-Jeff Goodwyn, alleges Melissa Patton “carelessly and negligently” struck the sign owned by Utica Baptist Church. At the time, it alleges, Patton was driving under the influence of alcohol and without a valid license.