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Highways turn deadly in county over weekend

The past weekend turned deadly beginning Thursday night on Laurens County highways.

Six of the eight traffic fatalities that occurred in South Carolina over the weekend happened in the county. A two-car crash on I-385 in the early hours of Sunday morning claimed five lives, and the driver of a stalled vehicle on South Carolina Highway 14 was killed Thursday night after being struck by another vehicle.

None of the victims of the I-385 collision were over the age of 38.

The victims were identified by Deputy Coroner Robin Morse as Desmond Tareeq Ervin, 28, of Laurens, Brandon Lamar Westfield, 30, of Laurens, Carlos Jamarl Braddy, of Greensboro, North Carolina, Abdul Jafar Aaron, 28, of Woodruff and Ahmad Rashad Williams, 33, of Laurens.

According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the two cars on I-385 collided near mile marker 13 just after 2 a.m. Sunday. SCHP Trooper Joe Hovis said a 2014 Kia with three occupants was traveling southbound in the northbound lane when it crashed head-on into a 2020 Hyundai.

Three of the victims of the crash were from Laurens and a fourth was from Woodruff. The fifth was from Greensboro, North Carolina, according to the Laurens County Coroner’s Office. Four of the five involved in the crash were pronounced dead at the scene, while the fifth, who was traveling in the Hyundai, succumbed to his injuries after being transported Prisma Health Greenville Memorial Hospital.

The accident is still under investigation by the SCHP.

On Thursday night, a driver who had already been involved in an accident on Highway 14 was struck and killed by another vehicle.

Laurens County Chief Deputy Coroner Patti Canupp identified the victim as Johnnie Calvin Evans, 43, of Greenville.

According to the SCHP, the 2006 Chevrolet SUV driven by Evans was disabled in the road. Evans was exiting the vehicle and was struck by a 2009 Dodge around 10:15 p.m. Evans died at the scene of the accident.

The driver of the Dodge was transported to Prisma Health Hillcrest Hospital.

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