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Tree across I-26 near Chapin causes multi vehicle collision early Friday morning

Chapin, SC (Paul Kirby) - A tree that fell across Interstate 26 just west of the Chapin exit near the 89 mile-marker eastbound created a chain reaction wreck Friday morning. Multiple vehicles that included several tractor trailer trucks were reported to have been involved. 

The first calls reporting the tree and the collisions came in just before 4:30 a.m. Crews from the Lexington County Fire Service and South Carolina state troopers were immediately dispatched. An ambulance and supervisor from Lexington County’s EMS also responded to the scene of the mess to deal with anyone injured in what had been described as a, “high velocity collision.” At that point, several vehicles had collided with the tree. As additional vehicles that were traveling east on I-26 continued to unexpectedly come upon the scene, more wrecks began to occur. Eventually, most of the interstate’s eastbound lanes came to stop with wrecked vehicles strewn across the road. 

Lexington County firefighters requested the assistance of Newberry County firefighters out of the Little Mountain Fire Department. The Newberry County units were able to get on to the interstate traveling east to help set up secondary blocks that warned any other approaching motorists of the collisions. State troopers who had raced to the scene also began arriving and they were assisted by sheriff's deputies from  Lexington and Newberry counties. Eventually, the firefighters completely closed all lanes of I-26 for a short while as they worked in the road sorting through the mess. 

Emergency responders reported that the tree had been removed from across the road just after 5:30 a.m. Even as some of the primary emergency equipment was being released from the scene close to the 89 mm, another accident was being reported further east on I-26 near the 91 mile-marker or right at the Chapin exit. Emergency equipment left the scene of the first wreck to move down to that collision.

Trooper said that at least two tractor trailer trucks were involved in the wreck at 89 with a number of other cars. The road was still partially blocked at 6:00 a.m. Friday. It appeared as if troopers would need several hours and multiple tow trucks to completely clear the interstate’s shoulders of all the mangled vehicles and debris.  

Traffic in that area is flowing; however, law enforcement officials are urging motorists to use extreme caution.

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