Scene of the accident. (Oct. 3, 2013/FOX Carolina)
GAFFNEY, SC (FOX Carolina) -
A Southern Wesleyan University student died in a crash that shut down Interstate 85 for several hours Thursday.
Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler said 18-year-old Krystal Pearce, of Harbeson, DE, was driving a vehicle heading north on the interstate near the 106 mile marker, when it crossed the median into oncoming traffic, and hit a tractor-trailer just after 5 p.m. Thursday.
Fowler indicated that Pearce became trapped in the vehicle following the crash and died of her injures.
Authorities said Pearce was one of two people in the vehicle. She had another SWU student in the car with her. She was injured and taken to Spartanburg Regional Medical Center, according to Fowler.
Fowler said the two had just started fall break, and were en route home when the accident happened.
According to SWU spokesman Ed Welch, staff held individual meetings with roommates, friends and all of the resident halls to share the news of the crash. The school gathered together Friday at 10 a.m. in the auditorium to pray, read scripture and support each other.
"Being a small, close-knit campus community, Southern Wesleyan University keenly feels this loss," said Welch. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to family and friends as they process this tragic event."
Welch said both students were freshmen at SWU and Pearce was on the tennis team.
SWU's Sports Information Director TJ Budd said they plan to keep Pearce's information up on the team website for the year and likely throughout the years she would have competed. He said she had yet to play or even take team photos yet because the sport starts in the Spring.
Copyright 2013 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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