PAWLEYS ISLAND, SC (WMBF) - As news quickly spread of Greg Smith's death late Tuesday evening, a piece of a tight-knit community tucked away in Pawleys Island was lost forever.
Smith was pronounced dead shortly after a Williamsburg County Transit Bus slammed into his Dodge pick-up truck on US-17 near Beaumont Road just before 7 p.m. Tuesday.
South Carolina Highway Patrol investigators say Smith was driving on private property and trying to cross the busy highway when the bus rammed into the driver's side door.
Shirley Winters saw the accident unfold before her own eyes while running to get her family dinner at a local Food Lion shopping center. Little did she know the man trapped inside of that pick-up truck was her own brother.
"Seeing my brother in that situation with all that blood on him and not being able to help him like I helped my two other brothers... my family will never be the same," Winters said late Wednesday morning.
Winters describes her brother as a kind, loving family-man that now leaves behind a wife and three kids. Family members said Smith worked as a local landscaper and was a coaching figure for local youth recreation teams.
"Right now it's like a dream to me," Travis Edwards, Smith's cousin, said. "But it's not a dream. I felt like the world was about to end. I had a breakdown yesterday."
As Smith's family continues to grip with their devastating loss, the South Carolina Highway Patrol is still trying to figure out what exactly sparked the accident that sent 13 others to three local hospitals.
Officials have not commented on the conditions of those 13 patients.
Smith's wife, Hope, told WMBF News off-camera that her husband was diabetic, but doesn't know if his health condition contributed to the accident. SCHP says it will examine evidence and a reconstruction of the accident to determine a final cause.
That final report, according to SCHP Lance Cpl. Sonny Collins, will take weeks to complete.
While Smith's family members wait for answers, what they do know is a piece of their hearts are missing.
"I know he's looking down on me and my brothers," Winters said. "Smiling down on me knowing I did all I could do for my brother."