Feds: Counterfeit money found at scene of fatal Horry County wreck

Counterfeit money was found at the scene of a fatal wreck off U.S. Highway 501 in Horry County on Monday afternoon.

Officials with the U.S. Secret Service confirmed to The Sun News that counterfeit money was found, but could not detail the status of an investigation. The Secret Service investigates some counterfeit money cases.

Thaddeus Leshawn Hess, 24, died in the crash, Horry County Coroner Robert Edge said Tuesday.

S.C. Highway Patrol Cpl. Sonny Collins said the wreck happened around 1:50 p.m. Monday. A Chevrolet Corvette was traveling south on U.S. 501 and tried to navigate the exit ramp towards George Bishop Parkway.

Hess drove the Corvette and was traveling too fast for road conditions, Collins said, hit a curb and hit a Toyota mini-van. According to Horry County Fire and Rescue, Hess was ejected from the vehicle.

The driver of the Toyota was taken to the hospital for treatment, Collins said.

Jeff Burns, of Plattsburgh, New York, was on the exit ramp when the Corvette sped by, hit the curb and landed in the median.

“I expected police cars to follow,” Burns said because the Corvette traveled so fast.

The Burns family was in the Myrtle Beach area for a baseball tournament and their two teenagers started to scream as they watched the scene. Two older men went to help the driver as Burns said he saw what he thought was paper blowing in the air.

An elderly woman tried to collect the paper and that is when Burns realized it was “hundreds and hundreds” of $20 bills, he said. He took a 2-inch thick stack of bills back to his car.

“It was so obvious the bills had never been in circulation,” Burns said.

One of the men who initially went to help the driver came up to Burns and said the bills were likely fake. Burns said he gave the money to the man and the family later contacted police because they didn’t want to be accused of being part of the counterfeit operation.

Alex Lang is the True Crime reporter for The Sun News covering the legal system and how crime impacts local residents. He says letting residents know if they are safe is a vital role of a newspaper. Alex has covered crime in Detroit, Iowa, New York City, West Virginia and now Horry County.