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A wrong-way driver on S.C. 9 west of Lancaster caused an accident Friday afternoon, Sept. 20, that injured five people in three vehicles, two seriously.
S.C. Highway Patrol Trooper Billy Elder said the accident happened at 2:20 p.m. in the eastbound lane of S.C. 9, between Grace Avenue and Meeting Street/Riverside Road. The scene was near the entrance to Lancaster Air Rail Park.
He said a 2004 Ford SUV and a 1966 Chevrolet were both traveling east on S.C. 9 when a 2000 Ford Taurus began traveling west toward them in an eastbound lane.
“(The Taurus) struck the Ford SUV head on. This in turn caused the 2004 Ford SUV to sideswipe unit three, the ‘66 Chevy,” Elder said.
Multiple witnesses on the scene reported seeing the driver of a gold Ford Taurus driving west in the eastbound lanes, strike a burgundy red Ford Expedition head on, which then spun into a 1966 Chevrolet Chevy II/Nova station wagon.
“When I came up an older man got out of the (Expedition) and started to walk around the truck and then his leg gave way and he just collapsed,” said Vicie Cesario of Fort Lawn.
“He wanted to get up, but I kept telling him to stay down,” she said. “All he kept saying was the car was going the wrong way.”
The accident left the Expedition with a mangled front end crushed down into the pavement and leaking gas and other engine fluids. The impact flung the Taurus off the left side of the road into a ditch where it came to a rest facing east.
Members of S.C. State Guard detoured eastbound traffic down Grace Avenue as firefighters, EMS and other first responders swarmed the scene from both directions.
EMS personnel immediately transported the man from the Expedition and an older woman in the vehicle as first responders worked to cut free the SUV’s female driver, who appeared pinned in at the legs.
First responders had to cut the roof off the Taurus to extract the female driver from the wreckage. No one else was in the car.
The man driving the Chevy II suffered non-life-threatening injuries. His passenger, an older woman, was not injured. The car itself had only minimal damage to the front left hood and fender.
According to the incident commander on scene, two of the injured were flown by helicopter to Carolinas Medical Center from the nearby Lancaster Airport. Elder said those two were the drivers of the Ford SUV and Ford Taurus.
The remaining victims, including the driver of the 1966 Chevrolet, were transported by ambulance to Springs Memorial Hospital.
The names of the injured, the extent of their injuries or charges were not available by press time Saturday, Sept. 21.
“The crash remains under investigation and that is the only information that is available at this time,” Elder said.
Editor’s note: Reporter Chris Sardelli contributed to this story.
Contact reporter Reece Murphy at (803) 283-1151