Heidi Johnson Blanks was active in Western York County
A 31-year-old Clover woman died early Friday in a one-car crash on Jim McCarter Road near Clover, according to the S.C. Highway Patrol.
York County Coroner Sabrina Gast said authorities believe they know the victim's identity, but Gast couldn't confirm until a DNA test comes back. Gast said that could take a few days.
But for many in the York and Clover communities, there was no question.
Community and business leaders say the woman was Heidi Johnson Blanks, a past president of the York Rotary Club and a member of the Greater York Chamber of Commerce's board of directors. She was the body shop manager at Dunlap-Johnson Chevrolet in York, owned by her father, Joe Johnson.
"She's just the sweetest girl in the whole world," said York County Councilman Joe Cox. "I really hate it for the family. No parent should ever have to bury their child."
'She had so much going on'
Cox said he had just seen Blanks the day before at a Rotary Club meeting at which he had been asked to speak. Blanks had served as president of the group recently, only the second woman to hold the position in the group.
"I always kidded her because she had so much going on," he said. "I'm going to miss Heidi."
York Mayor Eddie Lee said he learned of the accident Friday morning.
"It's a small city, so when somebody experiences something like what happened to Heidi, we all experience it," Lee said.
Lee got to know Blanks over the last 15 to 20 years. He bought a series of cars from Dunlap-Johnson Chervrolet, where Blanks worked for her father.
"I know her from buying three cars from her dealership and having her work on them," Lee said.
He recalls the various hats Blanks wore in the community. Whether presiding over the Rotary Club meetings every Thursday, sitting on the Greater York Chamber of Commerce Board or organizing fundraisers for local schools, Blanks was always happy to help out, he said.
"Everything she did, she did with enthusiasm," he said. "She was enthusiastic about life."
Car struck tree
The crash happened around 2:30 a.m. when a Chevy Malibu was going west on Boyd Road, said Lance Cpl. Jeff Gaskin of the S.C. Highway Patrol. Authorities believe the driver disregarded the stop sign at Jim McCarter Road, Gaskin said. The car went through the intersection, struck a tree and caught fire, he said.
The driver was pronounced dead on the scene, Gaskin said. Nobody else was in the car, according to the Highway Patrol.
The crash remains under investigation, Gaskin said.
Blanks' page on the social networking Web site Facebook was flooded with condolences from friends Friday night, and a separate Facebook page created in her memory identified her as the crash victim mentioned in a story posted at heraldonline.com Friday.
According to her Facebook profile, Blanks, a mother of two and a 1995 graduate of Clover High School, was a fan of NASCAR and Clemson football who described herself as a "social bunny" who loved to spend time with her children and her friends.
A quote she left on her profile seems to sum up that attitude:
"Life is too short not to make the best of it and make it the best for the ones you hold dear and love. SMILE!!!"