Kershaw County officials are urging the public to stay off treacherous roads, after a man’s body was pulled from his vehicle early Monday.
The county coroner’s office later identified the victim as 72-year-old McArthur Woods. A female passenger who was with Woods was rescued on Sunday evening, but the crews could not reach the driver in time.
Lugoff Fire Chief Dennis Ray told South Carolina Radio Network that emergency crews were not even aware of the wreck until a Kershaw County deputy who had stopped at the floodwaters heard the passenger calling for help around 11:20 p.m. Sunday. Rescuers were able to get to the passenger in time, but Ray said they had to call off the effort to reach Woods after the situation became too dangerous around 2:30 a.m. They did not recover Woods’ body until daylight returned.
He became the ninth death statewide that was blamed on the storm and its ensuing floods. All nine deaths have occurred on roads, due to either collisions or floodwaters.
Ray said authorities had barricaded Pine Grove Road, where the incident occurred, earlier in the day. The chief said it was not a unique situation either: they having a problem with drivers who are simply driving round barricades on closed roads or even moving them in some cases.
“Our biggest issue right now is that we have roads that are barricaded, they are blocked off by cones and folks are still going around the barricade,” he said.
He said just because the road may not be flooded, it still may be compromised and a danger to traffic. State regulations do not allow flood-damaged roads to be opened again until Department of Transportation engineers inspect them.
One of Kershaw County’s primary north-south connections U.S. 601 south of town also remains closed due to a bridge being damaged. “We basically lost part of a bridge there and that is our major thoroughfare here between Eastover and Lugoff, heavily traveled by commercial vehicles,” Ray said. The route is normally the quickest one for trucks traveling to and from Camden or Lugoff to access Charleston and points south.
They were able to get one major connection towards Charlotte opened. “We were able to open up S.C. Highway 34, so it is now open between Lugoff and Ridgeway,” Ray said.