Truck overturns on Catawba River bridge

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Truck overturns on Catawba River bridge

By Jesef Williams

The S.C. Highway Patrol says a blown tire is the reason for a two-vehicle wreck Monday afternoon on the Catawba River bridge near the Lancaster County line.

Ernest McInnis Jr. of Gastonia, N.C., was driving an 1997 Freightliner 18-wheel tractor trailer on S.C. 5 that overturned and went off the bridge.

The accident happened at 2:10 p.m. on the York County side of the bridge, said Lance Cpl. Jeff Gaskin of the S.C. Highway Patrol.

McInnis, 53, was traveling west on S.C. 5 and a 2004 Ford pickup truck, driven by Marcus Pinson, was heading in the opposite direction. The pickup was pulling a utility trailer, Gaskin said.

A tire blew out on the utility trailer, which caused it to cross the center line and hit the 18-wheeler's front left tire, Gaskin said.

The impact overturned the 18-wheeler, which landed on the ground below the bridge.

“That's what our investigators believe caused the wreck,” Gaskin said of the blown tire.

Gaskin said on Monday that McInnis was flown to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte with life-threatening injuries.

On Tuesday, Gaskin said McInnis was in serious condition. But a hospital spokeswoman said Tuesday afternoon that McInnis was not listed as a patient.

McInnis and Pinson, 46, who was not injured, were the sole occupants of each vehicle.

No charges have been filed in the wreck, which backed up traffic for several hours in both directions. Gaskin didn't know what time that stretch of S.C. 5 was reopened, but on Tuesday morning, motorists were able to travel the road.

The Highway Patrol's Multi-disciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) is investigating.

Contact reporter

Jesef Williams at 283-1152