Chester wants state to study ‘Deadman’s Curve’ where 2 killed

Chester County officials are asking the state Department of Transportation to perform a traffic study on a deadly stretch of S.C. 9 in Chester County dubbed “Deadman’s Curve,” where two people died in a fiery crash March 7.

The site about 10 miles west of Chester has been the scene several fatalities over the years, officials say. Last week, both drivers were killed in a crash that incinerated one vehicle and parts of the other after a van crossed the center line and hit a logging truck head-on, police said.

The family of Clover’s Clyde Mike Davis, 62, the logging truck driver killed in the crash, agrees that the highway needs to be looked at by traffic engineers to see if anything can be done to make it safer.

“We were all devastated; it happened so fast,” said Ann Caughman. “My brother’s death was so unexpected.”

County Councilman John Wayne Holcombe – a former sheriff and police officer – has lived in that area for four decades and recalls at least a half-dozen fatalities or more, including some he worked as an officer. One of those fatalities was a head-on collision similar to the March 7 double-fatal.

“We would like to know if the road can be widened, straightened – something,” Holcombe said.

Chester County Supervisor Shane Stuart recalls at least four fatalities on that stretch of S.C. 9 during his time working with a rescue squad, but county officials have not been furnished yet with an exact number of fatalities and injuries for the site over the decades.

The Chester County Council on Monday is scheduled to discuss and possibly vote to formally ask the DOT to study vehicle counts, crashes and fatalities there, Stuart said.

“York County, Lancaster County, they have asked state officials to look at road problems like this in the past,” Stuart said. “We need to make sure that roads in Chester County are being reviewed for safety by the state.”

Some of Davis’ family plan to attend the meeting to support the safety study.

West Chester Fire Chief Andy Martin, a firefighter for more than four decades and a lifelong resident of the area near the crash site, told The Herald after the March 7 crash that residents and emergency responders have called the stretch “Deadman’s Curve” as long as he can remember.

Van driver Jacky Blalock Jr., 51, of Lancaster also died at the scene. Investigators have not yet said what caused the van to veer into the path of the logging truck.

The highway was closed for hours the day of the collision and for several hours the next day to allow crews to clean the road and surrounding area of contaminants and fire remnants.

Want to go?

The Chester County Council meet at 6 p.m. Monday at the Fort Lawn Community Center, 5554 Main St., Fort Lawn.