Father of 5 killed in wreck

A father of five children was killed overnight in a vehicle accident in northern Horry County.

The wreck occurred about 1:45 a.m. on U.S. 17 near the Little River Spa, according to Todd Cartner with Horry County Fire Rescue.

Richard "Ricky" Johnson II, 37, of Siler City, N.C., was killed in the crash, Coroner Robert Edge said. Johnson was a supervisor for Hamlett Associates, a Climax, N.C.,-based construction company, Edge said.

Johnson was the father of five kids - which vary in age from four to 18 - and is also survived by his wife, said Michael Craig, a project manager with Hamlett Associates.

Johnson, who was stationed at a project in the area, had worked with the company for about 15 years.

"He was a great man," an emotional Craig said.

Siler City and Climax are located in the Piedmont of North Carolina between Greensboro and Durham.

Johnson was driving a 2001 Chevrolet pickup truck - Edge said it was a company vehicle - that was traveling south on U.S. 17 when it ran off the side of the road and overturned, said Lance Cpl. Bob Beres with the S.C. Highway Patrol. Johnson was the only person involved in the crash, which remains under investigation.

The wreck shut down the southbound side of the highway after the wreck, Cartner said. It has since reopened.

About 30 minutes later, two people were injured in a separate wreck in central Horry County. One person was flown to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, N.C., and another was taken via ambulance to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, according to Horry County dispatch.

That wreck was reported on Red Bluff Road at 2:09 a.m.

Johnson is the 55th traffic fatality in Horry County this year.

There were 62 traffic fatalities last year, 60 in 2005, and 73 in 2004.

More details will be posted as they become available.