A Myrtle Beach woman was killed in a wreck early Saturday morning, authorities said.
Kate Eason, 32, died at Grand Strand Medical Center after suffering multiple injuries in the crash, said Horry County Chief Deputy Coroner Tamara Willard.
The wreck happened between 6 and 6:30 a.m. at the intersection of Robert Grissom Parkway and 38th Avenue North, said Sgt. Jim Allen with the Myrtle Beach Police Department.
Eason was heading west on 38th Avenue in a Jeep Liberty when witnesses said she appeared to disregard a traffic signal and collided with a Ford F-150, Allen said.
Brian Beauregard, 58, was heading to work at the Sears Auto Center when he drove up on the crash site.
“Just destruction,” he said of the scene.
When the Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., man pulled over, he noticed Eason was still in the mangled Jeep.
“You’re almost in shock,” he said. “You realize, ‘Why is the driver’s seat all the way over onto the passenger’s side?’”
Beauregard said he tried to pull Eason out of the vehicle, but she was wearing a seat belt and he didn’t have anything to cut it.
As he searched for a way to unlatch the belt, the interior of the car caught on fire.
“She probably couldn’t hear me,” Beauregard said. “[I was] saying, ‘I’m sorry. I’m trying.’”
He remembers someone spraying a fire extinguisher on his back, firefighters dousing the flames and crews removing Eason from the Jeep.
He suffered some burns, but other than that he’s physically OK. He said he just hurts for Eason’s family, whom he doesn’t know, and he’s struggling to accept that he couldn’t help save her.
“It wasn’t enough,” he said. “Those are tough truths to swallow sometimes.”
Two people in the F-150 were transported to Grand Strand Medical Center with minor injuries, Allen, the police sergeant, said.
The crash remains under investigation and the state Highway Patrol’s Multi-disciplinary Accident Investigation Team has been called in to assist. The MAIT unit handles complicated wrecks and often reconstructs accident scenes.