Posted April 5, 2012 EST
Fatal I-95 Accident With Entrapment
(South Carolina) -
Colleton County Fire-Rescue responded to a loaded tractor trailer that crashed into the median on I-95 near the 62 mile marker northbound at 07:40, Thursday morning 5-April. The truck left the straight section of highway at a high rate of speed and struck multiple trees before coming to rest in the median. The force of the impact caused massive damage to the truck’s cab, heavily entrapping the driver. The front of the trailer gave way, spilling the entire load of bottled water onto the mangled cab and the shoulder of the highway creating a seven foot tall mount of bottled water. Several of the large pine trees fell into the northbound lanes completely blocking the highway. A squad of Army National Guardsmen from Company A 1-118th Combined Arms Battalion stationed in Gaffney/Fountain Inn, SC lead by SFC. Pat Moses, was held up in the traffic and immediately went into action. The crew consisting of over a dozen soldiers worked feverishly to move broken branches, smaller trees and bottle water off of the cab in attempts to rescue the driver. The victim could be heard inside the cab. Fire-Rescue units arrived approximately 8 minutes later, but the driver had passed away. The Coroner’s Office was then notified. While waiting on the Coroner’s Office, Firefighters used chainsaws to cut the trees into pieces. The National Guardsmen moved the trees from the Interstate to open up one lane. After the Coroner’s Office completed their investigation, Firefighter-Paramedics used a winch to remove the remaining trees off of the cab. Holmatro Rescue Tools were used to spread and cut the cab until personnel could reach the driver. It took 45 minutes to complete the extrication. Crews worked for 45 minutes before the patient was freed. The Coroner’s Office transported his body to the morgue. Both northbound lanes of I-95 were closed for over 35 minutes, causing traffic to back up over seven miles. Law Enforcement and DOT officials closed the Northbound Interstate at Exit 53 to reroute traffic through Walterboro on US Highway 15 until around 10:00. All Fire-Rescue units cleared the scene by 10:30. SCHP and State Transport Police are investigating the cause of the incident. DOT and recovery teams remained on the scene to remove the vehicles and clean up the damaged load of bottle water and a fuel leak. Engine 26, Rescue 1, Medic 19, Medic 26, Battalion 1, Car 12, Car 111, Car 116 and Car 118 responded. Deputy Chief David Greene served as Incident Commander.
Written and photos by Barry McRoy