N.C. woman injured in accident with logging truck

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By Greg Summers

KERSHAW – A North Carolina woman was entrapped inside her car Wednesday, Oct. 9, after colliding with a logging truck in a three-car accident about a mile north of the Kershaw town limits. 

It took rescue workers from Kershaw Fire Department, Lancaster County Fire Service, Lancaster County EMS, Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office and Lancaster Rescue Squad about 30 minutes to free Bonnie Pethel, of Locust, N.C., from her mangled car.

S.C. Highway Patrol Trooper Billy Elder said Pethel, no age given, was flown to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. 

The extent of Pethel’s injuries is unknown and a hospital spokeswoman said Friday, Oct. 11, she was not listed in the CMC system as a patient.

Another driver – 26-year-old Joey Barrett of Jefferson – was taken by ambulance to Springs Memorial Hospital. 

An SMH spokeswoman said Barrett was treated and released.

Elder said the wreck happened about 3 p.m. Wednesday near the “T-shaped” intersection of U.S. 601 (Gold Mine Highway) and Little Dude Avenue and involved two vehicles and a fully-loaded logging truck.

Barrett, driving a 1991 Chevrolet pickup, was headed south on Gold Mine Highway.

He was being followed by 28-year-old Brian Griffin of Greensboro, N.C., who was driving a 2002 Freightliner and pulling a fully-loaded logging trailer.

Elder said Barrett was slowing for traffic when his pickup was struck from behind by the logging truck. The impact pushed Barrett’s Chevrolet down a steep, overgrown, out-of-view gully on the southbound shoulder just past the intersection.

Elder said Griffin then veered the logging truck into the oncoming lane and struck a 2012 Kia SUV  driven by Pethel.

The logging truck smashed the front driver’s side of Pethel’s car, before veering off the shoulder of the northbound lane and overturning, spilling logs. Portions of the fiberglass body of the tractor trailer were leaning against a gas main within a couple of feet of the Freightliner’s grill.

Barrett was able to get out of his pickup, and Griffin was able to climb from the Freightliner cab, but Pethel was entrapped.

Rescue personnel rushed to the scene and worked non-stop to free Pethel from the wreckage. They were able to get both driver’s side doors cut from the SUV and tilt back the driver’s seat to get her out. 

She was conscious and rushed to the front lawn of Laurel Hill Baptist Church, where members of Heath Springs Volunteer Fire Department had set up a landing zone and a helicopter was waiting to fly her to CMC.

Following a preliminary investigation by SCHP and the state transport police, Griffin was charged with driving too fast for conditions. Traffic was detoured around the scene and it took almost three hours to clean up the road. 

“The collision is still under investigation,” Elder said. “That’s about all I can tell you at this time.”           


Contact copy editor Greg Summers at (803) 283-1156