News 12 This Morning / Friday, Jan. 27, 2012
GRANITEVILLE, S.C. -- The South Carolina Highway Patrol is searching for answers on how a pickup truck landed in a Graniteville canal Friday morning.
The accident sent two people to the hospital, while the driver walked away without injuries. He left the scene and a big mess for crews to clean up.
The pickup truck that 21-year-old Phillip Jackson was driving landed 10 feet underwater after driving through the Gregg Highway and Canal Street intersection. On the way, it hit the railroad tracks and a tree before crashing.
"We've had similar situations, probably not as bad. I was more worried about the people," explained Steve Bigg with theSouth Carolina Collision Center.
Passengers inside, 21-year-old Evan Moore and 19-year-old Thomas Leopard, were taken to the hospital for possible injuries.
Bigg came up with the idea to use a ramp to get across the railroad tracks without damaging the trucks. It took two wrecking trucks and a lot of patience to cross the tracks and position the truck near the canal.
"We really did have to worry about the railroad track not doing any damage," Bigg said.
In the dark you could barely see the 2004 Chevy pickup, but Bigg went right into the water to secure it.
"The water was pretty cold," he said. "Couldn't tell you the temperature, but when I got in there, I wanted to get out of there. I went under one time, and it scared me. I finally got in the back of the pickup box where I had some kind of ground."
Bigg says the truck kept slipping and would stick to the mud. He had to a re-hook the line at least 15 different times.
"I held on to the cable, that was basically my lifeline," Bigg said.
Once out of the water, crews dragged the truck through the muddy terrain to get it back on solid land.
"The railroad track has to go through, the vehicles has got to get out of the water, just get gear and get it done," Bigg explained.
Now the SCHP is looking into what caused Jackson to plunge into the canal with the truck and then leave the scene.
It's unknown at this time whether anyone was wearing a seat belt.
SCHP is still waiting to make contact with Jackson. They are looking into every possibility on what caused this accident, including alcohol and speed.