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NC woman killed, 2 children hurt in Lancaster crash with tractor-trailer, cops say

A North Carolina woman was killed and two child passengers were hurt in a crash between a car and a tractor-trailer in Lancaster County.

The crash happened around 6 p.m. Wednesday on U.S. 521 north of Heath Springs, said coroner and police officials. The road was blocked for hours as emergency crews investigated.

Panisla “Penny” Drakeford Rice, 39, from Lincolnton, N.C., died in the wreck, Lancaster County Coroner officials said.

Rice was not wearing a seat belt, said S.C. Highway Patrol Cpl. Bill Rhyne.

The two children were taken to Springs Memorial Hospital for treatment. Their conditions are unclear and it is unknown if the children were restrained in the car, according to police.

The identities and ages of the juveniles have not been released. Their relationship to Rice, the driver who died, is unclear.

Rice was driving a 2010 Dodge Avenger passenger sedan when the car hit a tractor-trailer that was backing into a private drive on the highway near Ramblin Road, Rhyne said.

The driver of the tractor-trailer truck was a 50-year-old man from Heath Springs. He was not injured, Rhyne said.

The fatal wreck on Kershaw-Camden Highway remains under investigation by the coroner and troopers.

The fatality, near the intersection of Ramblin Road on U.S. 521, is the second in two months at the location. One person died and another was airlifted to a burn center after a crash and fire in November 2018, police said.

The death is the fourth highway fatality in York and Lancaster counties in 2019. Three people died in York County crashes on New Year’s Day.

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Andrew Dys covers breaking news and public safety for The Herald, where he has been a reporter and columnist since 2000. He has won 51 South Carolina Press Association awards for his coverage of crime, race, justice, and people. He is author of the book “Slice of Dys” and his work is in the U.S. Library of Congress.