Monday's fiery tanker truck crash on Interstate 77 left a Charlotte man dead and traffic tied in knots.
Investigators were still searching for what caused the gasoline tanker to crash and catch fire Monday and are asking anyone who saw the crash to contact them. It could be a week or more before they determine a cause.
The truck driver, Joshua Woodrow, 35, was killed in the crash. Two Chester County women in a car also involved in the crash escaped with only minor injuries after one of them was briefly trapped. They said Tuesday the tanker had veered into them.
The crash sparked a large fire that burned for an hour, damaging the highway's surface. Tuesday, crews were working to repave two of the four southbound lanes, which remained closed through part of the evening commute but were expected to be open today.
Woodrow had been driving trucks for several years, and fuel tankers exclusively for the past two, relatives said. They saw the crash on the news Monday afternoon but weren't worried about Woodrow at first because they didn't realize he'd recently changed routes to I-77.
"We're totally devastated," his aunt, Teresa Farrar, said Tuesday. "We don't know what we're going to do without him." He has a son, 15, and five stepchildren, Farrar said.
He loved fishing with his children and his father, Farrar said, as well as watching Carolina Panthers and University of North Carolina Tar Heels games.
About 3 p.m. Monday, Woodrow was driving his Freightliner fuel truck south on I-77 near Gold Hill Road when S.C. Highway Patrol officials say the truck and a Plymouth sedan collided.
Deloise Clawson, 56, of Chester, was driving the Plymouth, returning from work with her friend Rosa Caldwell, 58. Clawson said she was driving in one of the right lanes.
On Tuesday, crews were working to repave two of the four-lanes on southbound I-77 near mile marker 87, while motorists coped with a second day of slow traffic.
Paving contractors resumed laying down asphalt Tuesday afternoon after their work was interrupted by midday rain showers.
The paving work was expected to finish by Tuesday evening Crews needed another 90 minutes to paint lane stripes and remove traffic cones, said Jason Johnston, a DOT interim district construction engineer. The goal was to open all southbound travel lanes by 7 p.m., Johnston said. However, by 7:15 p.m. traffic was still restricted to two lanes.
A crew of 15 to 20 men worked at the site.
"We can only fit so many people in the work zone," Johnston said. "If the rain shower hadn't gotten us, we'd have been out of the road by 5. You can't pave in the rain."
Water a concern
Meanwhile, the public was advised to avoid contact with the water of Jackson Branch near the site of Monday's tanker crash, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control announced Tuesday.
According to information gathered by DHEC, gasoline entered the branch after the tanker accident. An environmental contractor responded to the accident site and cleanup activities were underway Tuesday afternoon.
Pets should be kept away from waters around and downstream of the accident site, DHEC advised.