HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A local veteran was fighting for his life after a vehicle towing a boat pulled out in front of him while he was on his motorcycle.
South Carolina State Highway Patrol said the pickup truck driver is facing a charge for not yielding the right of away.
The crash happened at the intersection of Highway 501 and Ridge Road.
"The church was weeping because of that empty pew. The saddest part is that it's not empty because he is off fighting a war somewhere or out of town driving a truck, off doing his job. It's empty because something has happened to him that is completely out of his control," said Pastor Darrell Langston of Trinity Free Will Baptist Church.
Gene Haselden is a Father, veteran and longtime local.
Family members said he was fighting for his life at Duke University Hospital. Troopers said his motorcycle collided with a pickup truck that was towing boat. Investigators said that truck was trying to cross four lanes of traffic at Ridge Road and Highway 501.
"They gave us a lot of hope in saying that they are only assisting him in breathing. It's not breathing for him. The problem is he has a trauma to his brain," Langston said.
Pastor Darrell Langston is Haselden's pastor, neighbor and friend. He said he has known Haselden and his family for decades.
"Gene has served 20 years in the military and National Guard. He has had three deployments," Langston said.
Haselden served in Iran, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay.
Langston said the last time he saw Haselden healthy was on September 19th.
On that Saturday, the pastor said church members gathered to prepare for an upcoming function.
"Most of the church came out and worked and Gene came out and supervised and worked," Langston said with a laugh.
"It was later that evening highway patrol said that crash took place. The pastor said Haselden was on his way back from the Aynor Hoe-Down Festival when it happened.
"It was too close to do anything. He hit the car and it was a horrible… horrible accident. Gene's left side was just torn up," Langston said.
Family said a helicopter took Haselden from the scene to Grand Strand Medical Center and later doctors decided to fly him to Duke University Hospital.
Haselden's family and church said it will continue to pray for his recovery.
"His uncles and aunts love him and they want him back and the only way to get him is through the power of prayer."
Pastor Langston and the Haselden family said they are thankful for the Horry County First Responders that helped Haselden after the crash.
This year a lot of biker events have taken place in both the Pee Dee and Grand Strand.
Troopers said it is important for you to watch for those bikers.
"We have to watch out for them. A couple things with motorcycles, they are smaller and hard to see. A single headlight is what lets you know they're coming, it's hard to judge a motorcycles speed because of its size," said Corporal Sonny Collins with the South Carolina Highway Patrol.
Corporal Collins added said it's important for drivers to look twice before shifting lanes or making turns to ensure safety for all on the road.
"If you're following a motorcycle, give that motorcycle some extra space, because should some emergency happen and that driver has to break quickly they're going to stop much quicker than your vehicle is going to stop," Collins said.
Pastor Langston said Haselden died Saturday morning October 10.
There is no word yet on funeral arrangements.