SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A Spartanburg County employee died following a crash Wednesday afternoon involving a deputy.
According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the crash happened at 1:20 p.m. on Pine Street at Brown Road.
Highway Patrol said a Spartanburg County pickup truck was turning onto Pine Street from Brown Road when it was hit on the driver’s side by a Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office SUV.
Officials from Spartanburg County said two county employees were involved. One from the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office and one from another department.
The driver of the pickup truck died at the hospital.
The Spartanburg County Coroner’s Office identified the victim as 63-year-old Charles Ricky Graham of Pauline.
Graham was an employee of the Roads and Bridges department of Spartanburg County and had worked for the county for nearly 20 years.
The deputy, Robert Taylor, was taken to the hospital where he is being treated for his injuries.
7NEWS spoke with a driver who said he saw it all.
“Just all of a sudden saw the black SUV over here just plow into the white pickup truck and then came to rest where it is and started to catch fire,” said John Scott. “They got the one gentleman out of the white truck, and they were trying to get the gentleman out of the black SUV and it started catching fire, the white one did.”
Scott said he jumped out to help.
“I grabbed my fire extinguisher and helped law enforcement try to put the fire out while they got the other gentleman out of that vehicle, the black vehicle,” said Scott.
He said things flew out of the pickup truck as a result of the impact.
“That’s actually a fuel tank and that toolbox, they came out of the white truck. They flew out of the white truck and landed right here in front of us, and it turned over spilling diesel all over the place,” he said.
Neighbors said this is not the first time a crash like this has happened here.
“It’s not surprising, because this is a bad intersection,” said Libba McCullough. McCullough has lived in the area since the late 80’s.
“There’s a blind hill coming from Spartanburg to Pacolet and if you aren’t ready to move, you don’t know who’s coming over the road,” she said.
She said the road isn’t safe, “When I drive home, I’m always watching my rearview mirror.”
After witnessing crashes over the years, she said this can’t continue.
“Something needs to be done. This was a tragedy, but it’s not the first and it won’t be the last. Unless they do something,” she said.
This crash remains under investigation by the South Carolina Highway Patrol’s Multi-disciplinary Accident Investigation Team.
Spartanburg County said they didn’t just lose an employee, but a member of their family. They will have counselors available for county employees.
The Spartanburg County Coroner’s Office said they will be performing a forensic exam Thursday, to determine Graham’s cause and manner of death.