A 78-year-old Florida woman died from injuries in a four-vehicle wreck on I-95 at the 68-mile marker northbound, just south of Augusta Highway (S.C. Highway 61) on Thursday Oct. 8 at 4:52 a.m.
Colleton 9-1-1 received multiple reports of the collision which involved a van, a passenger car and two tractor-trailer trucks. Callers said one person was not breathing and CPR was in progress. Initial responding Fire-Rescue units requested two additional Fire-Rescue ambulances and a medical helicopter.
The first unit arrived to find the interstate blocked by debris and vehicles. A Hyundai Tucson with heavy front end and rear damage blocked the median lane. Two semi-trucks, both with dual trailers, were also in the median, one with a trailer over-turned and leaking a white substance. An over-turned Dodge van with heavy damage was found off of the right shoulder.
According to witnesses, the accident occurred when the Hyundai collided with the van, causing the van to go off of the right shoulder, down the embankment to a water-filled ditch. The van flipped over approximately four times, breaking off the fiberglass top and ejecting the female passenger into the water. The driver was still seat-belted in the vehicle.
The Hyundai skidded into the median, then back onto the highway, where it was struck by one of the tractor-trailers. The truck managed to stop north of the accident. The second truck attempted the avoid the accident and entered the median where its second trailer over-turned. The truck drivers exited their vehicles and went to assist the injured in the other two vehicles.
Firefighter-paramedics began triaging and treating patients until additional units arrived. The medical helicopter could not fly due to fog near its base.
While rescuers were assisting the driver from the van, the man asked about his wife. The truck drivers searched the dark wooded area and located the woman in the water behind the van. They pulled the unconscious woman to dry ground and began CPR. When Fire-Rescue arrived, resuscitative efforts were continued.
The woman — Joan McGuire, 78, of Oak Hill, Fla. — was transported to Colleton Medical Center. The ED staffed work on her for a long period of time, but she did not survive her injuries.
The driver of the van and the woman in the Hyundai were both transported to Colleton Medical Center. Neither of the truck drivers were injured.
As debris was cleared from one lane, it was opened about an hour later to allow traffic to flow. Traffic backed up six miles and remained congested for most of the morning.
S.C. Highway Patrol is investigating the crash and was on the scene for several hours. The white substance leaking from the trailer turned out to be a non-hazardous epoxy.
Fire-Rescue units were on the scene for six hours.