Former CCU cross country star dies in Valentine’s Day crash

Jamie McCarthy, 33, was killed in a wreck on Valentine’s Day. He was a former runner at Coastal Carolina University.
Jamie McCarthy, 33, was killed in a wreck on Valentine’s Day. He was a former runner at Coastal Carolina University.

A former Coastal Carolina cross-country runner and volunteer coach was killed in a Wednesday night crash in Myrtle Beach just blocks from his home.

Jamie McCarthy, 33, was pronounced dead at Grand Strand Medical Center shortly after a crash at 62nd Avenue North and Marina Parkway, officials said. He suffered mass trauma, said Horry County Deputy Coroner Darris Fowler.

McCarthy and his girlfriend Cristina Martinescu were on the way home from a Valentine’s Day date. One of McCarthy’s friends, Dianna Frykenburg, said Martinescu is on life support at Grand Strand Medical Center.

Neighbor Currin Carter said McCarthy was a quiet, good neighbor.

“I still have the box of candy he and his girlfriend gave me for Christmas,” Carter said. “A few days ago, I saw him going out to work. He addressed me smiling. He’s always smiling.”

McCarthy was from Ireland, but lived in Myrtle Beach, friends say. He most recently worked with Aflac and Blue Cross/Blue Shield, said a former Aflac regional manager.

A CCU senior in 2009, McCarthy held the university’s all-time record for the mile run as of 2016, according to an online CCU record book. He also won first place in the Chanticleer’s 2009 home invitational, according to a CCU release.

“He was always a super nice guy,” said former teammate Jeremy Withers. “Everyone loved him.”

McCarthy was named an All-Big South performer three times as a cross-country runner and once for track, the website says.

Kelsey Morgan, who worked with McCarthy at Captain George’s, said she recalls how much customers loved the waiter “with the dark hair and Irish accent.” She said he worked at the Myrtle Beach restaurant during the insurance sales “off season.”

Morgan said McCarthy loved coffee. “We’d have a lot of coffee conversations,” she said. “He also loved a good espresso.”

Coastal Carolina’s website lists McCarthy as a volunteer assistant track and field/cross country coach. The website said he “enjoyed a successful athletic career” at CCU.

McCarthy’s girlfriend, Cristina Martinescu, was also injured in the wreck. She is at Grand Strand Medical Center.

“She is on life support but is doing OK at this point it seems,” said friend Dianna Frykenberg.

Hannah Strong: 843-444-1765, @HannahLStrong