By Nikki Gaskins
JAMESTOWN, S.C. (WCIV)—Berkeley County coroner Bill Salisbury confirmed a five-vehicle wreck has claimed the lives of four people Wednesday. The accident occurred along Highway 17-A in Jamestown around 7:30 p.m. For several hours, volunteer firefighters with Jamestown Fire and Rescue directed traffic as the South Carolina Highway Patrol processed the scene.
Salisbury says three of the vehicles involved in the accident belonged to members of the Lighthouse of Jesus Christ Church out of Georgetown. The coroner says they were headed toward Moncks Corner with plans to attend a church service in Russellville.
The church van was hauling a trailer at the time of the accident but the people inside did survive according to Salisbury as well as two church members who were traveling with them in a Ford Expedition.
A third vehicle with the church group, a Chevy SUV, carried four people inside. At some point during the accident, Salisbury says the vehicle caught on fire, claiming the lives of three of the people inside. The fourth person was transported to an area hospital.
Salisbury says a fourth vehicle belonging to a nurse from Andrews was involved in the accident; however, she did survive.
A driver of the fifth vehicle, a Ford Fiesta, was ejected and killed. Salisbury says he didn't appear to be wearing a seatbelt.
The exact cause of the accident is still under investigation. Sources working the scene say the accident happened when one of the vehicles tried to swerve a dog on the road. However, Salisbury says it's not known if this caused the wreck. He confirmed a dog was found dead at the scene.
The coroner released more information on Thursday, saying several vehicles from The Lighthouse of Jesus Christ Church of Georgetown were traveling south when they collided with a northbound vehicle.
Coroner Bill Salisbury identified the victims killed in one of the vans as 55-year-old Edith Jackson, 45-year-old Angie Arthur and Melvira Johnson, 51, of Loris. Jackson and Arthur were from Georgetown.
Also killed in another vehicle was 36-year-old Steven Morse of Jamestown.
All four were pronounced dead on the scene. A fourth person in the van was transported to the hospital and his condition is unknown.
The coroner says Jackson, Arthur, and Johnson died from thermal burns when the van burst into flames and Morse died from body trauma.