Fatal crash on I 77 in Richland County: SC Highway Patrol

One person was killed Sunday night when a pickup truck overturned in a crash on a highway through Richland County, according to the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

Romeo J. Bautista, a 36-year-old Columbia resident, was the driver who died, Richland County Coroner Naida Rutherford said Tuesday.

The two-vehicle collision happened around 6 p.m. near exit 12 on Interstate 77, Master Trooper David Jones said. This is the junction with Forest Drive in Columbia, near Fort Jackson.

An Infiniti SUV and a Ford F150 were heading north on I-77 when the SUV slowed for traffic, according to Jones.

The pickup slammed into the median, sweeping the SUV sideways, before crashing into the median barrier and overturning multiple times, Jones said.

Bautista was ejected from the van and died at the scene, Jones said.

The person driving the SUV was not injured and no other injuries were reported by highway patrol.

It was not immediately known if any of the occupants involved in the wreckage were wearing a seat belt.

The accident continues to be investigated by the Highway Patrol.

As of Thursday, 360 people had died on South Carolina roads in 2022, according to the Department of Public Safety. Last year, 1,192 people died in crashes in South Carolina, DPS reported.

At least 27 people were killed in Richland County crashes in 2022, according to DPS. There were 73 deaths there last year, according to DPS data.

This is a developing story, check back for updates.


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This story was originally published May 23, 2022 8:52 a.m.

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Noah Feit is a live reporter with The State who focuses on breaking news, public safety and emerging trends. The award-winning journalist has worked for several newspapers since the start of his career in 1999.
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