Veteran S.C. Highway Patrol trooper Cpl. Kevin Cusack of Clover, known for his easy-going manner and respect from peers wearing the badge, died early Saturday after a crash while on duty in Lancaster County, according to state and local officials.
Cusack, 45, a father of three, died around 3:30 a.m. on S.C. 200 about six miles southwest of Lancaster, said Glen Crawford, Lancaster County deputy coroner.
Lance Cpl. Josef Robinson, a spokesman for the Highway Patrol, said the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office is handling the investigation because of the involvement of a trooper. Maj. David Belk of the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office said the one-car crash happened near the intersection of Douglas Road, but declined to release other information. Belk would not comment on whether Cusack was wearing a seat belt or any other specifics of the crash.
The Lexington County Sheriff's Office is assisting in the investigation with a wreck reconstruction team.
News of Cusack's death spread quickly Saturday through Clover and the tight-knit law enforcement community. Cusack spent most of the past 21 years patrolling York County roads, and several members of the community called the Clover Police Department to express condolences and remembrances.
"I talked with one lady today who remembered that Kevin gave her a citation one time, and she said he was so nice and polite and gentle that she just took the ticket and paid it," said Capt. David Dover of the Clover Police Department. "That was Kevin. Caring in nature, never one to raise his voice."
Police in Clover planned late Saturday to meet a motorcade of troopers expected to bring Cusack back to a Clover funeral home. Cusack spent the bulk of his career in York County, but recently had been working as a supervisor in Lancaster County.
"All of those who knew Kevin Cusack, and the law enforcement community as a whole, are greatly saddened by the loss of our co-worker and friend," Highway Patrol Col. Kenny Lancaster Jr. said in a statement. "Kevin has served the York County area his entire career and is well-known and loved."
Cusack was often part of safe-roads initiatives troopers took to area schools and other community groups, where his calm demeanor and gentle ways were a hit.
"Kevin was a great guy, one of the best in this business, and he will be sorely missed," said Capt. Allen Brandon, who runs the patrol division of the York County Sheriff's Office.
S.C. Department of Public Safety Director Mark Keel said, "Every highway fatality has a devastating impact on the victim's family as it does in this instance with Cpl. Cusack's family."
Cusack was a Florence native. Cusacks' funeral service is scheduled for 3 p.m. Monday at Lake Wylie Christian Assembly, located at 5766 Charlotte Highway. A public viewing will be held on at Lake Wylie Christian Assembly from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Memorials may be made to Calvary Baptist Church, 490 Griggs Road, Clover, SC 29710 or the South Carolina Highway Patrol Troopers Association, 4961 Bush River Road, Columbia, SC 29212