Claflin holds prayer service for four students killed in I-77 cr - - Columbia, South Carolina

Claflin holds prayer service for four students killed in I-77 crash

(Source: Claflin/Facebook) (Source: Claflin/Facebook)

Students at Claflin University are reeling after school officials identified the four people killed in an accident on Interstate 77 were also students at the school.

Nearly 1,000 students, half of the student body, attended the service mourning the deaths of those students who many of them knew.

The Richland County Coroner's Office identified the students as Melvin Lonell Jackson Jr., of Chester; Darrell Renard Pendergrass of Society Hill; Keeron Q. McElveen of Kingstree; and Jamarius Kel'Shawn Bruce of Darlington.

Troopers with the South Carolina Highway Patrol say the collision happened at about 5:40 p.m. on Thursday when a Ford SUV traveling south on I-77 lost control and crossed the median into the oncoming northbound traffic before hitting another vehicle.

RELATED: See pictures of the heavy traffic build-up following the accident.

Claflin officials held a prayer service for the four victims on Friday afternoon. University president Dr. Henry Tisdale said despite the loss of life, he hopes students learn something from the tragedy.

"This will be a defining moment for their education, and a time I am certain they will remember and what they will remember is family," Tisdale said.

Fraternity brother Shakeal Paul knew the four men through Kappa Alpha Psi.

"If you were having a gloomy day, all you would have to do is go talk to them and your mood would be switched instantly," Paul said.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol continues to investigate the incident.

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