Honea Path, SC (FOX Carolina) - Coroner Greg Shore said on Thursday that the death of a sanitation worked hit and killed in a tragic accident Thursday morning will have a huge impact on a tight-knit team.
In a community where "everybody knows everybody," Shore said the employees have worked together for many years.
It was on Thursday morning when troopers with the South Carolina Highway Patrol responded to an accident in Honea Path that left one man dead.
According to troopers the accident happened around 6:13 a.m. on Pitts Street near Orr Street. Troopers say as emergency crews responded to the incident, the roadway was completely blocked.
According to the coroner's office, the incident involved one of the city sanitation workers assigned to work with the garbage truck.
Shore said one of the workers was collecting cans when he fell onto the ground and the truck accidentally backed over the worker.
Shore later identified that injured worker as Richard Ernest Smith, 49, of Honea Path.
Shore said Smith was pinned beneath the truck and had to be extricated by the fire department.
Smith was transported to Greenville Memorial Hospital with severe injuries and died just after 7 a.m.
The accident is still under investigation but Shore said, "Right now, preliminary...it looks like a freak accident."
Honea Path Mayor Earl Meyers said the team of three sanitation workers had worked together every day and were very close.
The driver and the other worker were sent home for the day because they were so shaken up but are expected to return to work on Friday.
Meyers said the driver of the truck has never received any citations or had any safety complaints against him.
"It's just one of those accidents that I can't explain," Meyers said.
The Anderson County Coroner's Office, the South Carolina Highway Patrol, and OSHA are investigating the incident.