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Three people, including the shepherd of one of Lancaster's largest church flocks and his wife, are recovering from an automobile accident in York County on Thursday morning, Aug. 22.
S.C. Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Billy Elder said the Rev. Dr. Bert Welch, minister of Covenant Baptist Church, was driving west on Rock Hill Highway (S.C. 5) around 7:36 a.m. with his wife, Kathy, and their family when his 2002 Toyota was struck head-on by a 1998 Pontiac driven by Tylor Spaulding of Lancaster.
The accident occurred across the Catawba River bridge just inside the York County line.
Traffic was snarled for several hours.One motorist, who was on the river bridge, called The Lancaster News office early Thursday.
“I’ve been sitting here for more than an hour and haven’t moved an inch,” the caller said.
Elder said despite the serious nature of the accident, Bert Welch, 57, Kathy Welch, 55 and Spaulding, 21, suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
All three were transported to Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill.
The Welch’s daughter, Sara Anne Daley, husband Shaun, and young son, Carter Welch, were in the back seat of the vehicle but suffered only minor injuries.
According to reports from church members, Bert Welch received stitches at PMC for a gash in his elbow. Kathy Welch was said to be waiting transfer to Carolinas Medical Center Main for treatment of non-life-threatening internal injuries. No word was available concerning Spaulding's condition.
Church member Cheryl Keyser, filling in as a secretary at Covenant, said the Welches and their family were heading to the airport for vacation when the accident occurred.
“I guess their plans changed,” Keyser said. “Everybody is relieved. We're just thankful they weren’t more injured.”
Elder said Spaulding, of Bon Rea Road in Lancaster, was charged with driving left of center.
Contact reporter Reece Murphy at (803) 283-1151