'It's just a sad situation:' Family celebrating New Year's Eve witnessed Florence County crash that killed one

'It's just a sad situation:' Family celebrating New Year's Eve witnessed Florence County crash that killed one

FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Charges are pending following a deadly crash in Florence County late Sunday night that killed a 31-year-old woman.

According to South Carolina Highway Patrol Cpl. Sonny Collins, the one-vehicle crash happened on Anderson Field Road in the Effingham area around 11 p.m.

The 1990 Ford Ranger pickup truck was heading south when it ran off the right side of the road and hit a tree, Collins said.

He added that a passenger in the truck, who was not wearing a seat belt, died as a result of the crash. Florence County Coroner Keith von Lutcken identified the victim as Shannon Marie Smith, 31.

Wayne Ham lives across the street from where the accident happened and was home Sunday night. He said his family was celebrating the new year when tragedy struck.

"It's just a sad situation. It's a sad way to end one year and begin the new year," Ham said.."We were just inside having a family get-together, which we do every New Year's Eve."

Ham said shortly after 11 p.m. a couple of family members that happened to be outside when the accident occurred ran in and said "call 911, there's been an accident."

Ham's nephew, who actually witnessed the crash, said he heard a truck push the brakes while speeding around the curve before striking the tree.

When he ran over to the accident he said the driver was conscious, yelling "get me out". As for the passenger, unfortunately, it was too late once the paramedics arrived.

"Obviously he did not see the curve or at that time of night maybe he was unfamiliar with the road. I don't know why they were on this particular road and all, but he just missed the curve," Ham said.

This isn't the first time a crash has happened along the curve. Even though there's a slow-down sign before the turn, Ham said those unfamiliar with the road usually ignore it.

"I mean, a lot of times we hear people putting on brakes real hard and we've had a couple go into the ditches over here or make a doughnut hole in the man's yard next door because of it, but unfortunately this is really the worse that's ever happened on this curve," Ham said.

The driver was taken to McLeod Hospital and charges are pending, according to Collins. The accident is still under investigation,

Copyright 2017 WMBF News. All rights reserved.