The driver of a pickup truck died early Monday morning after his vehicle crashed into the side of the Darlington County courthouse.
The collision occurred at approximately 4 a.m. Monday, according to Chief Deputy James Hudson of the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office. Hudson said deputies were notified by the fire department on scene that one person was found dead in the vehicle.
The courthouse was closed Monday because of safety precautions, but it will reopen today and resume normal business operations, a ccording to Molly Odom, emergency management coordinator for Darlington County .
Darlington County Coroner Todd Hardee has not yet released the identity of the driver killed in the collision. Hardee said the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the South Carolina Highway Patrol's Multi-disciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) are investigating the incident.
Hudson said MAIT reconstructed the incident on-scene as part of its ongoing investigation.
“Highway Patrol is also going to work the wreck itself,” Hudson said. “All that information will be complied and finalized.”
When the vehicle crashed, it ignited causing smoke and fire damage to the courthouse. County Administrator Terence Arrington said the blaze damaged multiple offices including his own. Arrington said a structural engineer was called in to assess the damage to the building and determine whether or not it is safe for people to reenter.
“They (the engineers) are going to come in and evaluate, make sure it is structurally sound and then they will determine if we are going to open for business,” Arrington said. ““Right now, as far as I am concerned, we’re closed until we get a recommendation from the structural engineer.”
The Darlington County Sheriff’s Office and Darlington County Coroner’s Office are both assisting SLED and SCHP in the investigation. Questions as to why this happened are still unanswered, but Hudson said he doesn’t suspect any foul play to be involved.
“We don’t think there was anything more to it right now then this being an accident,” Hudson said. “As the investigation goes on, we will be able to tell more about what took place. It’s going to be a thorough process.”