The supervisor of the Governor’s Mansion was one of two people killed in an early morning car wreck in Columbia.
For three administrations, 48-year-old Chamberlain Branch had been the supervisor at the South Carolina Governor’s Mansion. He often formed close relationships with South Carolina’s First Families, most notably the sons of former Gov. Mark Sanford.
Branch was involved in a car accident at 12:30 am Friday at the intersection of Blossom and Huger streets. The Highway Patrol says his minivan was struck by another car that was being chased by Cayce Police.
Police say the 2011 Hyundai that was attempting to elude officers drove through a red light at the intersection. The Hyundai then struck Branch’s minivan and a taxi.
Branch died of injuries sustained when his minivan was struck and caught fire after hitting a wall. The driver of the Hyundai was identified by the Richland County Coroner’s Office as 23-year-old Shyborn Belton of Columbia. Belton was also killed.
Three passengers in the Hyundai were taken to the hospital. The taxi driver was not injured.
Governor Nikki Haley revealed Branch’s death on Facebook Friday morning, although news of the police chase and wreck had already been reported by Columbia media. Moments later, the Governor’s Office released a statement from Haley, “We are heartbroken and feel an incredible loss with Chamberlain’s passing. Everyone who knew him loved him. His smile and laugh were contagious. He was a very special part of our family, and his gentle soul, good humor, and care will always be treasured memories for each of us. We ask that all South Carolinians lift up in prayer Chamberlain’s wife Cherisse and their three children during this difficult time.”