SPARTANBURG CO., S.C. (WSPA) – We’re hearing from the families of the two USC Union softball players who lost their lives in a crash last month.
That wreck happened on Southport Road in Spartanburg County.
24-year-old Yuriy Karpik was arrested on felony DUI charges on Thursday after being released from the hospital.
“On February 7, 2020, my life, my brother’s life, my parents’ lives, my grandparents’ lives, as well as a huge community of friends’ lives changed forever,” Mallory Stokes said.
Mallory Stokes stood before her family and friends on Friday to talk about the hardest thing she said has ever happened to her.
“My sister, my identical twin, my best friend, and half of my soul was tragically taken from us,” she said. “She died a horrific death she did not deserve. Mia had the whole world waiting on her.”
Mallory and her twin sister, Mia, along with two of their teammates and closest friends, Grace Revels and Devyn Royce, were riding down Southport Road when, officials say, a vehicle crossed the center line and hit them head-on, leaving Mallory injured and killing Mia and Grace.
Yuriy Karpik was the driver of the car that hit them, troopers said. He’s since been charged with two counts of felony DUI resulting in death, felony DUI resulting in great bodily injury, and another charge for having an open container in the car.
Solicitor Barry Barnette said Karpik admitted to drinking wine at the time of the crash.
“There was a large beverage spilled there,” Solicitor Barnette said. “They found a purple liquid on the driver’s side door of the Camry, which the defendant was driving.”
The victim’s families asked the judge to deny Karpik’s bond, saying they believe he is a danger to society.
“There is not a way to bring back what we have lost, but there is a way to be sure that this does not happen again to another child or another parent or somebody else’s family,” Grace’s aunt Laurie Mikles said.
“Unlike him, Mia chose to follow rules. She respected authority and she respected the law,” Mallory said. “She always wanted to do the right thing. In her short almost 19 years, she knew right from wrong, and knew very well that there were consequences.”
Mallory said she and her sister had always been inseparable.
“Mia and I were living our dream that we had worked so hard for. Playing softball in college together was such a gift, and because of his selfish act, we only got one weekend to play,” Mallory said. “He stole the other half of me that night and he didn’t have to. He robbed the world of an incredible girl who loved Jesus with all of her heart. She loved our family, our church, and she loved people.”
Mallory said the effects of the crash will never go away.
“I’m scared to go to sleep out of fear for what he did to us. I will not leave my mom’s side. I’m scared to drive. I can’t be in school right now and I can’t play ball,” she said. “I have no idea how to live without Mia. I’ve never been just Mallory Stokes.”
While the magistrate set a $250 bond for the open container charge, Karpik’s bond was not set for the other violent charges. Instead, those will be set by a circuit court judge.
“Although it will not bring my Mia back, he does not deserve to be out with any kind of freedom to make this choice again,” Mallory said.
Karpik’s next court appearance will be on May 28th.
A spokesperson for the families told 7 News they were happy with the outcome in court and are relieved that Karpik won’t be out of jail any time soon, saying they don’t want another family to have to go through a similar pain.