One person died and two Chester County women were treated at a Rock Hill hospital after a fiery crash on Interstate 77 that backed up traffic for miles Monday afternoon and evening.
Joshua Woodrow, 35, of Charlotte, died as a result of the crash, York County Coroner Sabrina Gast said Tuesday morning.
Damage to the interstate caused officials to keep the two lanes affected by the fire closed overnight and this morning. Repairs will begin on the left lane Tuesday morning.
Around 2:40 p.m. Monday, a tractor-trailer carrying gasoline overturned, crashed and caught fire. Woodrow, who was driving the truck, died, officials said.
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S.C. Highway Patrol Lance Corporal Billy Elder said the Freightliner truck, towing a tank of fuel, collided with a 1997 Plymouth sedan in the southbound lanes.
"Following the collision, the tanker truck caught fire," Elder said.
Deloise Clawson, 56, and Rosa Caldwell, 58, both of Chester, were injured in the crash. Clawson was driving southbound in a 1997 four-door Plymouth. Caldwell was a passenger in the car.
Clawson and Caldwell were taken to Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill. Both were treated and released, PMC spokeswoman Sharon Harmon said Monday night.
An autopsy is planned today for the tanker driver, Gast said.
A Rock Hill man who was driving northbound on I-77 at the time of the crash said he could feel the heat from the flames inside his car.
Daniel Wuliger said he saw another witness pull two people from a car from underneath the tractor-trailer right before the tanker burst into flames.
"I was coming up to Charlotte, and I just see this big, black pillar of smoke," Wuliger said. "An explosion of fire and heat about 100 feet ahead of me.
"I could feel heat from the fire - inside my car. I had to speed up to get out of the 30-foot radius or so of the fire. Then I pulled over. The most insane thing I've ever seen in my life."
Southbound I-77 was closed for much of the afternoon and evening as investigators worked to reconstruct the accident, creating headaches for drivers at the height of rush hour. Officials asked people to avoid the area Monday because of serious traffic delays.
Miles-long traffic jams were reported on many southbound roads Monday night, with some drivers making U-turns on jammed roads to find alternate routes. One Rock Hill driver reported it took her more than three hours to get home from uptown Charlotte.
Two lanes of northbound I-77 were open soon after the crash. Charlotte Fire Department officials, who were assisting with the crash, said the fire was under control by 4 p.m.
Fort Mill and Flint Hill firefighters, Hazmat crews and S.C. Highway Patrol officers were among those who responded to the crash.
Monday's collision remains under investigation, Elder said. Anyone who witnessed the crash and hasn’t talked to the patrol is asked to call 803-385-3107