Horry Co. coroner identifies victims in fatal 501 accident

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) Horry County Fire and Rescue were on the scene of a fatal accident on 501 in Horry County Sunday afternoon.

South Carolina Highway Patrol's website reported that a fatal accident occurred on Highway 501 southbound at Hallie Martin Road around 12:53 p.m. Sunday.

According to Judd Jones with the SCHP, the collision occurred between two vehicles. The first vehicle, a 2011 Plymouth was traveling on Hallie Martin Road and entered Highway 501 when it was struck by the second vehicle, a 1978 Jeep, traveling south on Highway 501.

The driver of the Plymouth was noted to have been wearing a seatbelt. Both drivers were pronounced dead on the scene from multiple traumatic injuries suffered in the accident, said Jones.

Two passengers in the Jeep were transported to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center and are in serious condition. One was transported by helicopter and the other by ambulance.

Highway 501 northbound was closed for approximately thirty minutes, and southbound traffic was diverted to a side road, Jones said.

Deputy Coroner Tony Hendrick said the victims in Sunday's accident have been identified as Jason Christopher West, 31, and Gabriel S. Johnson, 23.

WMBF Reporter Sean Maginnis spoke to sources close to the family who say the two victims not killed in the crash are Jason Christopher West's wife and daughter.  Those sources say West's wife has a broken neck and his daughter has two broken hips, but that both are in stable condition as of Monday night.

Family friend Tanya Mishoe says she has known the West family for over a decade, and was even in the hospital with the family on Sunday night following the accident.

"As it is right now they're both safe, stable and trying to make it through, but it's still going to be tough and hard," Mishoe says.

Neighbor Anna Halloran says she has witnessed close calls at the intersection of Highway 501 and Hallie Martin Road before, and hopes this incident will encourage local officials to install additional signs or traffic signals to avoid void another tragedy.

"I've lost some neighbors here and I will miss them dearly.  These two people who lost their lives that day, it could have been avoided," Halloran says.

Neighbor Liz Cunningham says she was shocked to hear the news about her neighbors, whom she holds in high regard.

"Jason's awesome man, he's a great person, he was always asking how you're doing and everything and he's really nice," Cunningham says.

Cunningham says she hopes West's wife and daughter can recover from their injuries.

"I love them and I'm praying for them, they're in my prayers," Cunningham says.

Horry County Deputy Coroner Tony Hendrick says drugs and alcohol do not appear to be a factor in the crash.

This incident is still under investigation by the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

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