SCDOT contractor injured in accident on Highway 31

SCDOT contractor cutting grass on trailer while a car struck it, according to officials. (Source: WMBF News)
SCDOT contractor cutting grass on trailer while a car struck it, according to officials. (Source: WMBF News)

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A South Carolina Department of Transportation contractor was injured Monday morning after a tractor the worker was operating was struck by a vehicle on S.C. 31, according to Pete Poore with the SCDOT. Poore confirms the contractor was cutting grass.

According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the accident on S.C. 31 (Carolina Bays Parkway), which occurred shortly after 8 a.m., caused severe traffic northbound between Highway 501 and Robert Grissom Parkway. At one point, traffic on Highway 31 northbound was moving at less than 15 miles per hour, according to South Carolina Department of Transportation traffic maps.

Video from the scene appears to show the tractor and a gold in color minivan with heavy front end damage. Crews extinguished a vehicle fire and transported two patients in critical condition to the hospital, a tweet from Horry County Fire Rescue said.

WMBF News talked with a woman who called 911 and saw the crash unfold. Kirstan Wise said traffic was flowing at about 70mph when the van hit the trailer head on and flipped before catching on fire. “I saw the tractor fall over and the van pretty much whirlwind into the grass and the windows were busted out and not shortly after that it caught on fire, I obviously had stopped my car by then and a lady got out of hers and ran out to assist while I called 911.”

She thinks both of the people were ejected and multiple cars pulled over to run and help before fire and EMS arrived. “I’m eight months pregnant, so when I called 911 she’s asking if they’re okay and I said I really can’t run over there and check and I was shaken up so I said I have to calm myself down too, it was really scary for sure, it was terrifying.”

Her next call after 911 was to her husband. She said, “I told him I had just witnessed a really bad wreck and I’m pregnant and I needed him to calm me down. It was upsetting to see, and I just lost a family member in December to a wreck that turned over.”

Highway 31 is a road Wise said she drives on every single day on her way to work. It's something she is very familiar with, but said it could have taken a split second and the crash could have involved her.

"There were signs everywhere for them to be mowing the grass, I tend to be on alert and stay in the middle lane because I know they are on either side. You definitely want to pay attention on the roads and have the least amount of distractions as you possible can," said Wise.

Wise said she was stopped on Hwy 31 for at least an hour until cars were able to drive through.

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