NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The identity of the man killed in an accident in the North Myrtle Beach area that happened Thursday night has been released.
Hunter McKenzie, 21, of North Myrtle Beach, was pronounced dead at the scene, said Horry County Coroner Robert Edge.
According to North Myrtle Beach police, officers responding to the accident found the vehicle in the front yard of a home on Little River Neck Road.
Witnesses told police they heard the vehicle coming around a turn with its tires squealing.
Investigators determined the car was traveling about 70 mph as it was making that turn, when the driver lost control and slid sideways across the road striking a fence and then a tree.
Police said after striking the tree, the car spun around in a complete circle, ejecting the driver.
Investigators were told by McKenzie's girlfriend that he had just left Ian's Bar and Grille, where family said he worked, and was on his way home.
Those who worked with McKenzie were simply devastated.
"I was shocked. We had just seen him the night before. We stayed up late prepping for today. He was here, he was in good spirits. You never think something like that could happen," said Mark McDowell, the establishment's owner.
McKenzie just celebrated his 21st birthday on April 14. Though so young, his smile and work ethic didn't go unnoticed at Ian's Bar and Grille.
"I mean, as a local person and as an owner here, you think about his family, how young he was,"McDowell said. "He was a good kid. He's been with us about six months. "Hunter was a great worker. He was one of those workers where we would call him outside of his shift and he would come in with no hesitation."
The kitchen manager worked directly with McKenzie and said he was big on family.
Just the other day, he told her how proud he was for his mother because she landed a new job, according to the manager.
Even the restaurant's regulars made it a point to stop and say how nice of a person McKenzie was and McDowell didn't hesitate to agree.
"He's very friendly, social, had a great demeanor about him. He never complained about work. He'd do everything in the kitchen we'd ask. He ran every part of it. Just a wonderful employee," McDowell said. "We're all friends and family here. We knew him personally, and, like I said, we knew him personally and as a worker."
Those at Ian's Bar and Grill were having a tough time coping with this loss. Many had tears in their eyes working through their shifts and said McKenzie will certainly be missed.