Pawleys Island man, Conway man die in separate Grand Strand collisions

kgailliard@thesunnews.comJuly 17, 2012 

— A father of three died and 12 people were injured Tuesday when a Williamsburg County Transit bus carrying more than 30 passengers collided with a pick-up truck in the Pawleys Island area.

The crash happened on U.S. 17 southbound and killed Gregory Smith, 47, who lived on Ferguson Drive in Pawleys Island. Smith died at Waccamaw Community Hospital, said Georgetown Deputy Corner Sam Hodge.

His death was the second in the area from a crash on Tuesday and the fourth in less than a week.

Bob Beebe, spokesman for Midway Fire Rescue, said seven people from the bus were taken to Georgetown Hospital, two to Waccamaw Hospital and three to Grand Strand while another 15 declined treatment.

Smith’s truck was leaving Club Isis, near Beaumont Road, when it was hit by the bus headed to Kingstree, Beebe said. Smith truck was struck on the driver’s side and he was stuck inside until emergency workers could remove the roof of the truck to free him, Beebe said.

Alfonzo Allen was Smith’s best friend and was in his own truck behind Smith.

“I kept waiting for him to hit the brakes,” he said. “He didn’t feel it. He never touched his brakes. He just said, ‘Lord, I’m here.’”

Allen said he saw his friend take his last breath, a sight he’ll never forget. He said it’s a little comforting knowing Smith couldn’t have felt any pain, but that does little to quell the pain.

“I’m hurt, I’m crushed and I’m angry,” he said. “But, what can I do?”

Smith was part of a motorcycle group with Allen in the Pawleys Island area. Allen said Smith was the funny man in the bunch.

“He’s the life of our group,” he said. “When we wanted to laugh, we turned to Greg.”

The condition of the 12 injured on the bus was not available late Tuesday night. Passengers who were not injured were picked up by a relief bus sent by Williamsburg Transit.

The crash shut down both southbound lanes of U.S. 17. Emergency crews from Midway Fire Rescue, Georgetown County, Horry County and the S.C. Highway Patrol were all called around 6 p.m. One northbound lane was reopened about 7:50 p.m. Southbound traffic was either being turned around or diverted through True Blue golf club to Old River Road.

Earlier Tuesday, a Conway man died after a motorcycle crash about 3 p.m. on Highway 548 at Gemini Circle. Ronald Todd, 33, of Conway was flown from the crash to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center where he later died, said Horry County Coroner Robert Edge.

Further details about the crash were not available late Tuesday.

On Thursday, 18-year-old Cynthia Ayala died in a six-vehicle crash on U.S. 17 Business in Surfside Beach when a sedan crossed two grass medians to collide with her car. The driver of the sedan, Derek Fiore, 34, of Rutherford, N.J. veered off a frontage road, striking cars stopped for the traffic light at S.C. 544, according to the S.C. Highway Patrol.

Fiore remains hospitalized at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center and the crash remains under investigation.

A 57-year-old man was killed Saturday when the motorcycle he was riding crashed into the side of a van on U.S. 17 Business just north of Ocean Lakes Campground in Surfside.

Logan Trevino of Myrtle Beach was traveling north on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle when he struck the passenger side of a 2011 Toyota van as the driver attempted to cross the highway. Trevino died of multiple trauma at 12:50 a.m. at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center.

A second motorcyclist also was injured when he spilled his bike onto the roadway and had to be airlifted to the Burn Center in Augusta, Ga. That crash, too, remains under investigation.

Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381.

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