UPDATE: 5 victims in crash on South Carolina interstate identified

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Five West Virginia residents who died in a multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 26 were identified Friday by Orangeburg County Coroner Samuetta Marshall, The Times and Democrat reported.

The victims were Justin Cooper, 39; Michael Russell, 67; Andrew Morris, 37; Jasmine Morris, 25; and Gracie Taylor, 7.

Each died of massive blunt force trauma sustained in the crash, Marshall said, according to the newspaper.

Two others were hurt in the crash Thursday afternoon in Orangeburg County, South Carolina, according to multiple news reports.

The crash, which closed all westbound lanes of I-26 until about 9 p.m. Thursday, happened about 12:30 p.m. that day, according to news station WIS in Columbia.

The accident involved a 2001 Chevrolet SUV and two tractor-trailers, The Times and Democrat reported. 

Five people in the SUV were killed, and two SUV passengers were injured, officials said, according to WIS. The SUV was headed east on I-26 when the driver went off the road into the median, crashed through the median barrier and kept going into the westbound lanes, WIS reported.

The SUV then was struck by the two tractor-trailers that were westbound, causing the SUV to flip several times, according to WIS.

On Thursday evening, Marshall told The Times and Democrat she could not immediately release the names of the victims.

“We are still doing identifications and still have to notify the next of kin. ... Until we do that, we don’t have any other information at this time,” Marshall told the newspaper.

Jamison Fire Department Chief Kirk Davis said one tractor-trailer caught fire, according to The Times and Democrat.

The drivers of the tractor-trailers were not injured and were wearing seat belts, S.C. Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Tyler Tidwell told the newspaper.

Regional coverage

At The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, we focus primarily on Georgia news, but we also like to provide readers with regional coverage of the Southeast. We cover stories that impact our region, especially in Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, South Carolina, North Carolina and Mississippi.

Besides the Jamison Fire Department and the Orangeburg County EOC, the Orangeburg County Emergency Medical Services, the Orangeburg County Coroner’s Office and the Providence, Four Holes, West Middle and Edisto fire departments responded to the scene, The Times and Democrat reported.

The S.C. Highway Patrol and its Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team are continuing to investigate, the newspaper reported.