GEORGETOWN, SC (WCSC) - It was a sad and somber Sunday at the Lighthouse of Jesus Christ Church in Georgetown as church members remembered a trio of women who were killed last week in a head-on crash in Berkeley County.
55-year-old Edith Jackson, 45-year-old Angie Arthur, and 51-year-old Melvira Johnson were killed last Wednesday on Highway 17A just south of Jamestown after they collided with a car driven by 36-year-old Steven Morse, who also died in the crash.
The group was part of a caravan headed to a church service in Russellville. The church's leader, Pastor Floyd Knowlin, was part of that caravan, "We felt it just... Shook the whole van. I seen sparks from the highway and then I look to my right. I look in the woods and I saw a blaze of fire." He continued, "Everybody was all over the place. All of a sudden I see the car on fire and they said Deacon Arthur and those in that car."
Sherrin Grate, a member of the church for over 10 years, had some nice things to say about each of the women who tragically died last Wednesday.
"Melvira Johnson, she was just full of life. She loved to sing, we called her Patty LaBelle […] Edith Jackson, she would always have you smiling, telling jokes […] Deaconess Angie Arthur, she was just full of a love. Anything you ask of her she would do, she would keep you laughin' also."
Area law enforcement also paid tribute to the women. Bonneau Police Department Chief Franco Fuda, who got the call on his scanner last week, paid his respects Sunday.
"It just broke my heart to hear that these people were coming from church […] the incident happened in Berkeley County, so I felt there should be some law enforcement from Berkeley County to let these folks know we're thinking about them, we're praying for them, and if they need us, we'll be here," Fuda said.
During the service, a table was placed at the front of the church pulpit holding portraits of the three women, along with a candle representing each life.
Bishop Knowlin hopes the service provided comfort for his grieving congregation, "I felt like this service should have been dedicated and geared toward them but most of all to help the church family get some relief."
A fourth victim involved in the crash, Angie Arthur's husband, John Arthur, remains in critical condition, but is said to be improving. According to Pastor Knowlin's son, Arthur is opening his eyes and responding to interaction by moving his fingers.
Funerals for the women will be held at the church, located at 159 Johnson Road, this week. A service for Melvira Johnson is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday, and Edith Jackson's service will be held four hours later at 3 p.m.
Angie Arthur is set to be laid to rest Wednesday at 11 a.m.