WYFF confirms two news team members killed when tree fell on veh - FOX Carolina 21

WYFF confirms two news team members killed when tree fell on vehicle in Polk County

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Photo published by WYFF4.com. Photo published by WYFF4.com.
(Source: Tammy Taylor). (Source: Tammy Taylor).
POLK COUNTY, NC (FOX Carolina) -

WYFF confirmed on its broadcast and its website on Monday that two crew members died in an accident in Polk County. 

The TV news station identified the crew members as anchor and reporter Mike McCormick and photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer. The entire FOX Carolina family sends our prayers to the families of Mike McCormick, Aaron Smeltzer and the entire WYFF news team.

McCormick, a Florida native, came to the Upstate as a reporter in 2007. Smeltzer has also been covering news in the Upstate for more than a decade.

According to Polk County officials, the incident occurred along Highway 176 around 2:30 p.m. They said a tree fell on a car.  Highway 176 is closed between Harmon Field Road in Tryon and Thompson Road in Saluda, until further notice. 

North Carolina State Highway Patrol is investigating the collision.

A visitation for Smeltzer will be held on Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. at Seawright Funeral Home in Inman. Funeral services for Smeltzer will be held in his hometown of Tazewell, Virginia at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

A visitation for McCormick will be ehdl on Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Floyd's Greenlawn Chapel. Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Central United Methodist Church.

WYFF issued the following statement on the incident:

WYFF News 4 anchor Mike McCormick and photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer were killed Monday in Western North Carolina when a tree fell on their SUV. The accident happened on Highway 176 in Polk County while they were covering the rain impact in that area.

“Mike and Aaron were stellar journalists, dedicated to covering news in this market,” remarked John Humphries WYFF 4 President and General Manager. “They were beloved members of our newsroom, and we will miss them tremendously. Today is a difficult day, and there will be many more ahead.”

“All of us at WYFF 4 are grieving,” said News Director Bruce Barkley. “We thank you for your comfort as we mourn. We ask that you keep Mike and Aaron's families in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

Mike is originally from Florida and started at WYFF 4 in 2007 as a reporter in our Spartanburg newsroom. In 2014, he was named weekend anchor of WYFF News 4 at 6 and 11pm. When Mike was not reporting or anchoring the news, you would find him in the kitchen. He loved using local, fresh ingredients from the Hub City Farmers' Market.

Aaron started at WYFF 4 earlier this year as a photojournalist in our Spartanburg bureau. Originally from Tazewell, Virginia, he’s been covering news in our area for more than a decade. He was an avid baseball fan and loved traditional country music.

The Greenville County Sheriff's Office offered condolences in a statement on Tuesday:

On behalf of Sheriff Johnny Mack Brown, the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office sends our deepest condolences to the friends, family and colleagues of Mike McCormick and Aaron Smeltzer. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted by their loss, and particularly our friends at the Wyff4 family.

Gov. Henry McMaster also tweeted that he was praying for the journalists' families:

We will update this story as more information is available. 

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