By HEATHER WALTERS
A man trying to change his flat tire along Interstate 95 last week was thrown from the disabled truck by a second vehicle that veered into his lane, creating a domino effect of vehicles crashing into one another.
According to Colleton County Fire-Rescue Chief Barry McRoy, the driver of a utility truck was parked in the breakdown lane along I-95 on Feb. 18th behind another disabled tractor trailer. The men were attempting to change a flat tire. “The driver of the utility truck … had just crawled from under the trailer when the collision occurred,” said McRoy. “The driver was knocked away from the truck, but did not receive any injuries.” The unidentified driver of the tractor trailer was also not injured.
The crash occurred when the male driver of a third vehicle – a GMC Sierra Truck – “struck the parked utility truck at a high rate of speed, and pushed it into the disabled tractor trailer,” said McRoy.
The male driver of that GMC Truck was killed.
A 13-year-old female passenger in the truck was also seriously injured, and suffered “multiple traumatic injuries,” said McRoy.
“Both occupants were unrestrained and heavily entrapped in the wreckage,” he said.
According to Lance Cpl. Tyler Tidwell, with the S.C. Highway Patrol, the driver of the GMC Sierra Truck ran off the road and struck the vehicles parked alongside the highway. Neither the driver of the GMC Truck, who died at the scene, nor the teenage girl in that vehicle were wearing seatbelts, said Tidwell.
Firefighter-Paramedic crews used multiple Holmatro Rescue Tools to remove the passenger side doors of the GMC Truck, and then used a hydraulic cutter to cut the supports on the back of the seat, freeing the teenage girl.
She was transported to the Children’s Trauma Center at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston. “No medical helicopters could fly due to thunderstorms in the region,” said McRoy.
The Colleton County Coroner’s Office was also called to the scene to also investigate the crash.
The crash occurred about 1.3 miles north of Walterboro on I-95 at about 12:35 p.m.
According to McRoy, all traffic in the southbound lane of I-95 was shut down for nearly two hours.
The SC Highway Patrol is still investigating the crash.