Childhood friends remember brothers killed Gilbert crash

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Friends and family are remembering two brothers who lost their lives in a car crash involving a tractor-trailer in Lexington County Wednesday night.

The Lexington County Coroner identified the brothers as 27-year-old Carlis Wade Epting and his brother 23-year-old Harley Dillon Epting.

Those who knew the brothers say they were best friends and nearly inseparable. Friends say their deaths have been extremely difficult to cope with because this was a double loss.

They say the brothers were always together, so if you were friends with one, you were likely friends with both.

"They were the best boys you could ever find, golden-hearted," childhood friend, Danelle Heath says.

The three had been friends for nearly 10 years.

"I met them through school. Started hanging out with them and they became my brothers. If I wasn't with Wade, I was with Harley," Heath says.

Officials say the two were driving eastbound on Pond Branch Road around 8:30 p.m. when their car collided with a tractor-trailer that was making a left turn. Troopers with the South Carolina Highway Patrol say the brothers were not wearing seatbelts.

"I got a call and they said, 'I need you to come to the hospital, come quick.' And, when I got that call I already knew that it wasn't going to be good," Heath says.

Both men succumbed to their injuries from the crash. The coroner says Wade was pronounced dead at the scene of the collision while Harley was pronounced dead a short time later after being transported to a hospital.

"Today's probably the first time I haven't been nonstop crying. I never ever felt something like this in my life. I've never lost people so close to me. It's literally like having your heart ripped out," Heath says.

"We were supposed to go get lunch this week, but I guess God had other plans," Allie Usry, another childhood friend says.

Friends since high school, Usry says she and Wade recently re-connected over their love for parenting.

"He was a wonderful dad. That's all we ever talked about was his son and how much we loved our kids," Usry says.

Through the pain, Usry says she finds some comfort knowing the inseparable brothers never have to be apart.

"I know one couldn't live without the other. They were always together. They could not live without each other," Usry says.

Foley's Bar and Grill, where Allie works in Saluda, now has a jar sitting on the front counter where they're accepting donations. They say the cash will be given directly to the family to help with funeral expenses.

The crash is still under investigation by the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

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