A two-vehicle crash Tuesday morning on U.S. 35 East near the Home Depot claimed the life of a 24-year-old South Carolina man.
At approximately 10:48 a.m., a 2005 GMC C4500 utility truck, driven by James R. Hollis, 55, of North Augusta, SC, was heading eastbound on U.S. 35 when it was struck from behind by an eastbound 1987 Freightliner semi tractor-trailer, driven by Robert W. Dinser, 38, of Wheelersburg, Ohio. Following the crash, the GMC truck went off the right side of the roadway into the ditch and embankment area, where the vehicle overturned and caught fire, according to Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth.
A passenger in the truck, identified as Freddielee Antron Marshall, 24, of Ridge Spring, SC, was ejected and subsequently pinned beneath the vehicle, Stanforth said. Marshall was pronounced dead at the scene by Fayette County Coroner Dr. Dennis Mesker.
The driver, Hollis, was extricated from his burning vehicle by emergency first responders and was transported from the scene by Fayette County EMS to Fayette County Memorial Hospital. He was then airlifted to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton for further medical treatment, according to Stanforth.
The Freightliner semi tractor-trailer continued off the left side of the roadway to the edge of the median before coming to rest. Dinser sustained minor visible injuries in the crash, but declined medical treatment.
Hollis’ vehicle contained several five gallon buckets of paint and painting equipment utilized in silo and grain bin restoration, which was thrown from the vehicle at the time of the crash, blanketing the roadway, ditch and embankment area with paint.
U.S. 35 East was closed between U.S. Route 62 and State Route 41 in Fayette County from the time of the accident until around 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Members of the Washington C.H. Fire Department responded and extinguished the fire, and assisted with the extrication of the victims. Members of Fayette County EMS also assisted with the extrication. Also responding and assisting with the investigation and clean-up were members of the Washington C.H. Police Department, Ohio Department of Transportation, Fayette County Emergency Management Agency, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and the Motor Carrier Enforcement Unit from the Wilmington Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Members of the Sheriff’s Traffic Crash Reconstruction Unit are conducting the crash investigation. Charges relating to the crash are pending as deputies continue their investigation.