WYFF news crew dies after tree falls on vehicle in Polk Co.


TRYON, NC (WSPA) – An Upstate news crew died in a crash on Highway 176 in Polk County on Monday.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol told us two WYFF employees were hit by a tree while driving southbound.

Reporter Mike McCormick and photographer Aaron Smeltzer were in Polk County covering the dangerous weather conditions there.

“It’s a great tragedy,” said Tryon Fire Department Chief Geoffrey Tennant. “In fact that entire neighborhood probably a stretch of the highway no more than two hundred yards more or less. We’ve had three fatalities since the 18th of May.”

McCormick started working at WYFF in 2007 as a reporter in Spartanburg. He was also the anchor of the stations weekend evening newscast.

Smeltzer previously worked at WSPA-TV covering stories here in the Upstate before joining WYFF earlier this year.

Highway Patrol said the WYFF news vehicle was traveling south on Highway 176 when a tree fell and hit the vehicle.

Polk County officials said NC State Highway Patrol is handling the investigation and said Highway 176 is shut down between Ozone Drive in Saluda and Harmon Field Road in Tryon.

People are being asked to avoid the area.

On behalf of everyone at 7News and WSPA-TV, we express our sincere condolences to the families of both Mike McCormick and Aaron Smeltzer and to our colleagues at WYFF News 4 on their loss.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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