Coroner releases names of Claflin students killed in crash on I- - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Coroner releases names of Claflin students killed in crash on I-77

DOT traffic cams show a heavy traffic back-up on Interstate 77 at the Farrow Road exit. (Source: SCDOT) DOT traffic cams show a heavy traffic back-up on Interstate 77 at the Farrow Road exit. (Source: SCDOT)
There was a heavy traffic build-up following the fatal crash on I-77. (Source: SCDOT) There was a heavy traffic build-up following the fatal crash on I-77. (Source: SCDOT)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

The Richland County Coroner has released the names of four Claflin University students killed in a crash Thursday evening on Interstate 77.

Coroner Gary Watts says three men died at the scene. Their names are Melvin Lonell Jackson Jr., of Chester, Darrell Renard Pendergrass of Society Hill and Keeron Q. McElveen of Kingstree.

A fourth victim, Jamarius Kel'Shawn Bruce of Darlington, was taken to a Columbia hospital where he died several hours later. 

Watts says Jackson was driving the SUV with Pendergrass, McElveen and Bruce as passengers. Friday morning Claflin University announced all of the young men were students. 

Claflin University issued this statement Friday:

"We are hurting and are saddened to hear about the untimely death of three of our students. I call upon the Claflin family to draw closer together and remain strong as we try to comprehend the loss of these members of our Claflin family,” said President Henry N. Tisdale. “Our prayers are also with the families and friends who are connected with the accident victims and with the student who is still in the hospital.”

Claflin held a campus prayer service at noon Friday at W.V. Middleton Fine Arts Center.

The crash occurred at the 23-mile marker of I-77 near the Killian Road exit. 

Troopers with the South Carolina Highway Patrol say the collision happened at about 5:40 p.m. on Thursday. A Ford SUV was traveling south on I-77 when it lost control, according to troopers, and crossed the median into the oncoming northbound traffic. It was struck by a Toyota SUV.

The driver of the Toyota was transported to a hospital, whose condition is unknown at this time. 

A third vehicle, Honda Accord, struck some debris from the crash with the two SUV's. 

 The fatal collision caused some major traffic to build on I-77, SC-277, and even on Farrow Road as people tried to avoid the interstate traffic. 

According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, all lanes on northbound Interstate 77 at mile marker 22 were blocked. Traffic was diverted off of the interstate at Killian Road. The road opened several hours later.

Mobile users, see pictures of the heavy traffic build-up here

The Columbia Fire Department said in a tweet the collision involved two vehicles with someone becoming entrapped in their car after the collision. They also said the collision closed all northbound lanes and also one southbound lane. 

SCHP's MAIT team is investigating the crash. 

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