Two days, two traffic deaths in Allendale County

Two men died in Allendale County within as many days - both in catastrophic wrecks.

A man was killed in the Allendale town limits after being hit by a train April 30.

Just the day before in an unrelated incident, a fiery wreck left one man dead on S.C. 125 April 29 after his car was involved in a head-on collision with a tractor-trailer truck.

The victim of the train accident was identified as William Henry Robinson by Allendale County deputy coroner Keith Smith.

Smith said Robinson was 74 or 75 years old.

The incident occurred sometime between 10 and 10:15 a.m., April 30 at the train crossing at the intersection of Marion Street and Railroad Avenue. This crossing is about one mile inside the town limits, Smith said.

Robinson tried walking across the intersection as the northbound train was coming into it, he said.

"The train was blowing its whistle, the lights were blinking and the (crossing) guard was down," Smith said.

After hitting Robinson, the train stopped about 100 yards down from the intersection, he said.

Barbara Brant witnessed the accident from her house at 415 Railroad Ave., not more than two blocks from the railroad crossing. Brant said she watched as the train hit Robinson.

"He walked straight in front of it. It stunned me. I never saw anything like it before. The train was blowing," she said.

Brant got her son, Trevor Brant, to call 911 immediately after realizing what had happened, she said.

Brant said Robinson was a familiar person in the neighborhood who often crossed the train tracks going to the nearby IGA grocery store on U.S. 278.

Despite the accident, Brant said it doesn't bother her living within walking distance of the train tracks.

Smith said he requested a toxicology report from S.C. State Law Enforcement Division on this case.

The train at the time of the accident was pulled by CSX engine #820 which had 20 cars and a caboose attached to it. Many of the cars were filled with wood chips.

The train started in Charleston with eight empty cars and was making a normal local run north to Augusta, said CSX spokesman Garrick Francis. Francis was calling from the CSX office in Jacksonville, Fla.

The train idled on the rails while CSX officials and emergency workers handled the scene.

A replacement crew came and completed the train's run, which is standard procedure in a situation like this, Francis said.

The train got back underway at 2:30 p.m. that day.

Francis didn't know the actual speed the train was travelling when it struck Robinson, but the authorized speed for that area is 49 mph, he said.

"It's a tragic event when anything like this happens," Francis said.

The head-on collision occurred about 10 miles north of the city of Allendale, according to the S.C. Highway Patrol.

Allendale County Coroner Hayzden Black said Glenn Nichols, 55, died at the scene and the exact cause of death is still being investigated by his office.

S.C. Highway Patrol reported that Nichols was traveling northbound on S.C. 125 in a four-door Chevrolet sedan when he crossed the center line, striking a tractor trailer. The tractor-trailer, a 1988 Kenworth, was driven by Lacy Cheek, 41, of Barnwell.

Cheek and Nichols were both wearing seat belts. Cheek was not injured, according to the SCHP.

Black said the accident was witnessed by a doctor from Aiken. After the initial head-on collision, Black said Nichols's car traveled into the woods.

Black said the doctor went to Nichols to help but realized he had already died.

The area of the accident had no cell phone reception available so the doctor went back to his own car to go get help when Nichols car exploded.

Black said Nichols was employed by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control in Aiken.

The accident is still under investigation by SCHP.

Funeral services were held May 2 at the Aiken Church of Christ.