Irmo, SC (Paul Kirby) – On Wednesday morning, a be-on-the-lookout (BOLO) call went out at on many law enforcement dispatch frequencies at approximately 5:20 a.m. Officers near Irmo and that area of Lexington and Richland counties were asked to look for a car that was travelling the wrong way on I-26 close to Piney Grove Road and the Harbison Boulevard exits. Multiple law enforcement agencies were trying to move cruisers onto the interstate to intercept the driver, however tragedy struck prior to anyone catching up to the vehicle. The wrong-way driver collided with another motorist head-on near the Piney Grove Road exit westbound. At 5:33 a.m., those lanes were at a complete standstill and multiple fire and emergency vehicles, as well as law enforcement officers from various agencies, were just arriving on the scene.
Firefighters from the Columbia Fire Department, in conjunction with personnel from the Irmo Fire District, were able to quickly extricate a patient who was trapped in one of the vehicles. That patient was loaded into a Richland County EMS unit and transported to Palmetto Richland’s Trauma Center in full cardiac arrest. A second patient who had first refused transport, later was taken by Lexington EMS to a local medical facility for evaluation as well. State troopers were advising that all west bound lanes of I-26 were blocked in the area and motorist should try to find and alternate route if they had to travel that way. They will advise by their social media pages. automated text system, and local news media, once the lanes are flowing again.
The SCHP will be leading the investigation into the collision. It is much too early into the investigation to know why the driver was on the interstate travelling east in the westbound lanes.