Driver dies after crashing into Conway home, family finds dog - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Driver dies after crashing into Conway home, family finds victim's dog

Damage caused by the crash on the back of the home Damage caused by the crash on the back of the home
Police cover vehicle with tarp in the front of the home Police cover vehicle with tarp in the front of the home

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) Conway Police are on the hunt for a suspect responsible for shooting a man, causing him to crash into a home.

Conway Police Sgt. Selena Small says police responded to the scene at 914 Durant St. near the corner of Hemingway Street at around 3:30 p.m. Thursday. Police had received a call for shots fired in that area and were informed about the crash while en route.

When they arrived they found 53-year-old Dwayne Gaghum of Conway in the truck that struck the home, and he had been shot in the head.

Horry County Chief Deputy Coroner Tamara Willard confirms Gaghum was shot, causing his death which has been ruled a homicide.

Gaghum's stepson, Michael McCracken said people in the neighborhood heard the gunshots and the crash then called him.

"Probably 5 minutes after it happened I got the phone call saying what had happened," Said McCracken.

He said he rushed to the scene, then could not believe what he saw.

"When I went to the house I saw something nobody should see," Added McCracken.  "It was horrific."

Gaghum was a self-made mechanic, McCracken said.  He also told WMBF News he has no idea why this happened, but violence in Conway is getting worse.

"In the last two to three years the violence has just increased tremendously," Said McCracken. "I cant believe that someone would shoot at him or shoot him period it doesn't make any sense, the violence in Conway needs to stop."

The crash is still under investigation, but friends and neighbors told WMBF News immediately after the crash that they believed foul play may be involved.

Gene Pyatt, a neighbor and long time friend of Gaghum, says he and a group of friends rushed to the home on Durant Street when they heard the crash.

"We were playing spades when we heard a boom," Pyatt explained. "As we approached the vehicle, we saw [Gaghum] slouched over, I observed...his brains somehow in the backseat, bloody."

Pyatt says he hopes police uncover what happened to Gaghum quickly, and if foul play is involved, they catch the guilty parties.

"The kids around here, they're sagging [their pants], they're gunning, they're stealing, they're disrespecting their elders," Pyatt implored. "It has got to stop."

Gaghum's dog, a pit bull named "Miley," was riding in the truck with Gaghum at the time he was shot family members said.  

"They were inseparable till the day Dwayne died," Said McCracken who went searching for Miley after his father's death.  

Late last night, a family member spotted the dog just blocks from where Gaghum was shot.  Miley was found just a block from the funeral home where the family was getting ready to say goodbye to Gaghum.

"My mother was laying on the couch and when I told her she jumped up," Said McCracken.  "We needed a miracle and this was a God sent miracle from Dwayne saying it's going to be ok."

McCracken said getting Miley back, in some ways, is like getting his father back.

"You look in Miley's face and you kind of see Dwayne," Said McCracken.  "It sounds crazy but you see Dwayne in her face so I feel like we have a piece of Dwayne back."

As of right now, police said numerous tips and leads are coming into the station, but for now the investigation is back at square one.

Conway Police ask that anyone with information on the incident call 843-248-1790.

Copyright 2012 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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