A Fort Mill man taking his sons to a swim meet in Charlotte died and eight others were injured in a series of crashes on Interstate 277 on Saturday morning that began after a police officer stopped to help a disabled car.
William Alan Sweezer, 53, of Fort Mill, died at Carolinas Medical Center Saturday following the collisions.
Officer Jeff Templeton responded around 7:20 a.m. to a report of a disabled vehicle on the outer loop of I-277 near Carson Boulevard. The disabled Chevy Impala was on the left side of the roadway in the breakdown lane, out of the travel lanes.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said Templeton was out of his car, helping the stranded driver and two passengers, when a Toyota Camry crashed into the back of his patrol car.
Templeton was not injured.
Shortly after the crash, an off-duty officer, Chris Kunz, stopped to help. He parked his personal vehicle and got out.
Police said the Camry's driver, Sweezer, also got out of his car and was standing in the road talking to the officers when a Toyota 4Runner slammed into the back of his car.
Sweezer was struck and killed. Officers Templeton and Kunz also were hit.
Kunz's unoccupied vehicle was then struck by a taxicab traveling along I-277.
Police charged Delvin Joel Marin-Contreras, the 29-year-old driver of the 4Runner that authorities said hit and killed Sweezer, with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and driving without a license.
Court records show Marin-Contreras of Charlotte had been charged previously with driving without a license in Mecklenburg County, once in 2008 and again in 2010.
A section of the interstate was closed, and paramedics transported eight people - the two officers, three passengers from Sweezer's car and the three occupants of the disabled Impala - to area hospitals.
Officers Templeton and Kunz were taken to Carolinas Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries and later released.
Sweezer, who was driving his wife and two teenage sons, Brandon and David, to a swim meet, was active in the swimming community. He was treasurer of S.C. Swimming, a group that is part of the larger USA Swimming organization.
Brandon and David Sweezer swim with Rock Hill Area YMCA Aquatics and were scheduled to compete at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center uptown on Saturday, said their coach, Lynn Williams.
Williams said Sweezer's wife, Bobette, and one of the boys were injured in the wreck and would be kept overnight in an area hospital for observation. The other boy was unhurt, she said.
She said the Sweezer family moved to the area from California about five years ago. Sweezer often trained other swimming volunteers, she said, and he was at the pool to watch his sons swim practically every day.
"Our swim family is absolutely, totally devastated," she said. "He will be missed, not just for what he did for us as a volunteer, but for the support he gave the team."
North Carolina law requires that drivers traveling on roadways with multiple lanes move into another lane when emergency vehicles are parked along the road with their lights on. If there is only one lane in each direction, drivers are required to slow down as they pass emergency vehicles.
Police ask that anyone with information about this incident to call 704-432-2169.