Witness describes horrifying scene of pedestrian hit by fire truck

Michael A. Mayo
Michael A. Mayo

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The man who was hit and killed by a fire truck ran into the road because a store clerk called the police on him, according to authorities.

Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said 49-year-old Michael A. Mayo of Columbia was struck and killed by a City of Columbia fire truck around 11:30pm Wednesday on Forest Drive near Providence Hospital.

Mayo and an unidentified friend were both hit by a Haz-Mat truck responding to an emergency call. Watts said the two ran into the road because a clerk at the S-Mart on Forest Drive had called the police because of a disturbance they were causing.

An employee at the convenience store said her co-worker was on duty when two men came in and tried to buy beer. The woman behind the counter refused to sell it to them, and she says that's when they became belligerent. The coroner's office says the clerk then called police, at which point they two men left.

A witness said the men did not see a Columbia Fire Department hazardous materials truck heading up the street with lights and siren running. "Oh my God, oh my God," said the witness, recalling the horrifying impact. "I might have said it about ten times and then I went over there. I don't know what I could do, but I went."

The witness said the truck was traveling "very fast." Jenkins says the truck had earlier been on the scene of a chemical spill on the USC campus.

Mayo was taken to Palmetto Richland, but died from his injuries. The man who was with Mayo was said to have suffered a leg injury. Investigators did not release his name.

Mayo's family said he was not the kind of guy who would easily lose his temper. "That don't sound like him to me," said sister Gail Nelson, who said Mayo wasn't a hotheaded guy. "No sir, no sir."

"He never caused no trouble," said nephew Dalvecaio Hare. "And you know if you was down, and he's around he could make you laugh."

According to Watts, Mayo was wearing was wearing a dark blue sweater, black coat, brown pants and black tennis shoes at the time of the accident.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating. Jenkins said the fire department is also conducting its own investigation into the incident.

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