The fiery Thursday crash on Interstate 77 that killed two people and injured several others was a “chain reaction” that began when a tractor-trailer rear-ended a slower vehicle, according to the S.C. Highway Patrol.
Two people were killed in the crash, which happened near mile marker 68 on northbound I-77 and involved three tractor-trailers and three other vehicles, troopers have said. Several other people were injured, and five medical helicopters responded to take those injured to hospitals.
Emergency officials say there were 14 people total in all the vehicles, and two people walked away from the crash unharmed. The extent of injuries is unknown.
Lance Cpl. Gary Miller of the Highway Patrol said at least four of the vehicles involved were traveling north at a slow speed due to traffic congestion.
He described the six-vehicle crash as a “chain reaction” that began when a northbound tractor-trailer rear-ended another vehicle.
That same tractor-trailer then crossed the median and struck a southbound tractor-trailer, and both trucks caught on fire, Miller said.
Norman Edward Kimble, 59, of Rebersburg, Pa., was driving the 2007 International truck, according to Chester County Coroner Terry Tinker. He died from blunt force trauma with ejection and thermal burns.
The condition of the truck, which Tinker said was “destroyed” by the collision and fire, made it difficult to determine if Kimble was wearing a seat belt.
The crash is still under investigation, and it wasn’t clear Friday how the remaining vehicles were involved.
Miller said a 2-year-old was ejected in his car seat from a Chrysler van driven by a 26-year-old Rock Hill woman. The woman and toddler were both transported to a hospital by helicopter.
A van carrying several people, including a 13-year-old and 16-year-old, also were involved in the crash, Miller said. An 82-year-old passenger inside the van died. The victim’s identity has not yet been released. Everyone inside the van was wearing a seat belt.
The crash shut down a portion of I-77 for several hours Thursday. The interstate was reopened by 10 p.m.
Along with multiple fire departments from Chester County, York County sent crews from two fire departments and four units from Piedmont EMS to the crash scene. Emergency management personnel from both counties also responded.