Investigation continues in crash that killed Newberry Co. schools Superintendent Bennett

Officials are investigating a weekend crash that killed Newberry County schools Superintendent Bennie Bennett and injured a deputy.

The collision report is expected to be available by the end of the week, officials with the S.C. Highway Patrol said Monday. Investigators also are putting together a reconstruction of the wreck – a process that can take weeks.

Visitation for Bennett – open to the public – is slated from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Mid-Carolina High School in Prosperity, according to Jean Pratt, vice president of F.B. Pratt and Son Funeral Home.

Bennett’s funeral is set for Saturday at Pineville AME Zion Church in Rock Hill, Pratt said.

Bennett, 56, was a member of Winthrop University’s first men’s basketball team and a Winthrop Athletics and York County Sports Hall of Fame member.

Following an outstanding playing career, he had a successful 15-year coaching career at Fort Mill and Clover high schools. He served as athletic director and assistant principal at Clover High School from 1993 to 1998. He became principal at Clover Middle School in 1998, and later became the first African American to be appointed as an assistant superintendent in the Clover school district in 2002. He had served as superintendent of the Newberry County school district for 10 years.

“Superintendent Bennett was a well-respected education leader who will be greatly missed by many and remembered as an outstanding, dedicated educator who was passionate about students and public education,” said Scott Price, executive director of the South Carolina School Boards Association.

The collision occurred at 6:26 p.m. Saturday on S.C. 219 near Newberry High School, according to Newberry County Coroner Craig Newton.

Deputy David Brandt was en route to a call for assistance at a traffic accident on Interstate 26 near the Newberry/Lexington county line, Newton said.

Brandt was traveling north on S.C. 219 with his lights and siren on, according to the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office. As he approached the intersection of the driveway to the school, a vehicle driven by Bennett entered the highway from Chapman Drive and the vehicles collided, officials said.

The deputy was released from the hospital Sunday. He is on medical leave because of injuries and will undergo outpatient treatment this week, according to the sheriff’s office.

The Herald staff contributed

Glen Luke Flanagan: 803-771-8305, @glenlflanagan