Agencies investigate fiery fatal crash of fuel tanker near Barnwell

South Carolina Highway Patrol
South Carolina Highway Patrol(WRDW)
Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 7:48 AM EDT
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BARNWELL, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Authorities are investigating a wreck that killed a truck driver when a fuel tanker crashed and burst into flames about two miles outside Barnwell.

The crash happened around 3:30 a.m. Monday on U.S. Highway 278 near the intersection with South Carolina Highway 37.

A tractor-trailer carrying fuel was traveling west on Highway 278 when it left the right side of the road, hit a ditch and caught fire, according to the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

A number of Barnwell County fire departments responded, but firefighters were unable to put out the flames, according to Barnwell County Coroner Lloyd B. Ward.

Afterward, it was discovered that there was an occupant.

Barnwell County Emergency Management Director Roger Riley coordinated the use of a crane from Energy Solutions to help lift the tractor so the remains could be recovered.

Forensic anthropologist Bill Stevens was brought in from Columbia to assist in the collection of the remains, and was to help the Barnwell County Coroner’s Office confirm the identity of the driver, who was thought to be a Columbia resident.

Ward’s office said Wednesday that the identity still was not available for release.

Ward said the driver died from blunt-force trauma, with the fire a contributing factor.

The patrol said the driver was wearing a seat belt.

Toxicology test will be performed.

The case is under investigation by Barnwell County Coroner’s Office and the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

Among those working on the case were the fire departments of Barnwell County, the Barnwell County Sheriff’s Office, Energy Solutions, Edisto Electric Co-op, the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the South Carolina Department of Transportation and Stevens. Riley coordinated the efforts, according to Ward.

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