Two people have died and seven others were injured, in a two vehicle accident on I- 95 at the 63 mile marker northbound Sunday evening 05-June. The accident was reported at 2213 in Colleton County, SC. Witnesses stated both vehicles were traveling northbound in the left (fast) lane. A Toyota pickup truck had just cleared the bridge over McLeod Road when it rapidly approached a slow moving or nearly stopped full size Dodge Conversion Van. The pickup truck struck the rear of the van causing heavy damage to both vehicles. The van was knocked out of the highway into the wooded median where it struck several trees. An unrestrained passenger in the pickup truck was killed on impact, while the driver received multiple traumatic injuries. The van was carrying seven adult Haitians, only one of whom spoke English. All received multiple traumatic injuries; four of the seven were in critical condition at the scene. The northbound lanes of the Interstate were completely blocked by the pickup truck, debris and a gasoline spill. Little information was provided to 9-1-1 on the initial call. Engine 26 and Medic 26 were assigned to the incident, advised only of an MVC with unknown injuries. An off duty Firefighter-Paramedic arrived from his home approximately 4 minutes after the dispatch. He advised of multiple critical patients and requested additional ambulances along with two medical helicopters. The first Colleton County Fire- Rescue units arrived several minutes later. One adult female patient went into respiratory arrest shortly after units arrived. A second suffered a head injury requiring Firefighter-Paramedics to perform RSI the patient to secure her airway. A third patient suffered multiple fractures with a head injury. The remainder of the patients suffered multiple traumatic injuries. Only two suffered non-life threatening injuries. Omniflight responded with two helicopters, one from Charleston SC and the second from the Savannah GA area. Lifenet of SC helicopters were tied up with other responses, but dispatched a third helicopter from the State Capital in Columbia. It was cancelled due to the extended ETA. The remaining patients were ground transported to Colleton Medical Center (CMC) in Walterboro. Five Colleton Fire-Rescue ambulances responded and one Dorchester County EMS unit was responded as mutual aid. Dorchester County transport two patients to CMC. After arriving at the Emergency Department, the six patients were treated and stabilized. Two were later flown from the ED in critical condition to the Trauma Center at the Medical University of SC (MUSC). One helicopter dropped off its patient from the scene at MUSC and then flew back to CMC to transport a second patient. Lifenet 3 later responded to the ED to fly one patient to MUSC. Fire-Rescue Medic 9 transported one critical patient from the ED to MUSC and a private ambulance service transported one patient with serious injuries. The SC Highway Patrol is investigating the crash. I-95 northbound was completely blocked for over an hour, with traffic rerouted to Jefferies Highway (US Highway 15). It was reopened to one lane for another hour, before the scene was cleared of vehicles and debris a little after midnight. SCDOT spread sand over the accident site to absorb a large quantity of gasoline that was expelled onto the roadway. A second patient passed away later at the Trauma Center. Engine 26, Rescue 1, Medic 1, Medic 6, Medic 9, Medic 19, Medic 26, Dorchester EMS Medic 5, Battalion 1, Car 117 and Car 118 responded. Firefighter-EMT Marshal Murdaugh and Chief McRoy handled Incident Command and LZ Coordination.
Written and photos by Barry McRoy