911 calls made alerting police to a drunk driver minutes before fatal crash

Fatal accident 911 calls

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - At least two 911 calls were made Wednesday May 15, prior to a fatal crash.

The accident occurred at about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday on Prestwick Club Drive, off Highway 544. The driver of a Buick, identified as 56-year-old Joan Errickson, was traveling south, and the driver of a Jeep Wrangler was driving north when he crossed the center line and struck the Buick, highway patrol officials said.

The first 911 call was made at 7:12 p.m. from a man who told the dispatcher a man was driving a dark colored jeep erratically on Highway 31. The caller said the driver had just been in a ditch and was driving out of it.

"He's erratic. He's drunk and now he's got his jeep out and he just about totaled the jeep a minute ago," the caller explained. "He just cut across three lanes of traffic in front of people."

The dispatcher first had the caller wait while she tried to call the South Carolina Highway Patrol. The caller gave the dispatcher a license plate number and explained what he believed the type of jeep.

The caller told the dispatcher that he was going to get off the highway, but the erratic driver continued on Highway 31 southbound.

At 7:17 p.m., the dispatcher was able to connect with SCHP and a BOLO (be on the lookout) was issued across the county.

"As immediately as those alerts are given, the troopers in that area are working their way towards the area that car is at," SCHP Lance Corporal Sonny Collins said.

Lance Cpl. Collins couldn't speak to this case specifically because the accident is still under investigation but said when calls like those come in, every step to get the driver off the road is taken.

"If there's not a trooper in that location, then our dispatcher will notify the local law enforcement. Maybe there's a county policeman, maybe there's a city police officer in the area. Any means we can to try and get those drivers checked on," Lance Cpl. Collins said.

Exactly 15 minutes after the first call for a report of a dangerous driver on the road was taken, another one from a different caller came into the dispatch center. The woman told the dispatcher that the driver just turned off Highway 544 onto Prestwick Club Drive.

"Thank God he got off this main road. He is messed up. I don't know what he is on but this is a 4-lane highway with that emergency center and he was using all three lanes," the caller explained.

Two minutes later, roughly one mile down from where the erratic driver had made the turn, another call came into dispatch. This one from Errickson's passenger.

"A jeep crossed over the road and hit us almost head on," Errickson's passenger said.

"Ok did you guys flip?" said the dispatcher.

"No he just hit us and knocked the hell out of us. Please hurry, she ain't breathing," the passenger continued.

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