Coroner: Governor's Mansion supervisor dead after hit by fleeing driver

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The supervisor of the South Carolina Governor's Mansion Complex and another person are dead after a car fleeing police ran a red light and caused a three-vehicle crash early Friday morning, according to the coroner.

Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said one of the victims was Chamberlain E. Branch, 48. Branch was driving a mini-van that was hit by a 2011 Hyundai around 12:30 a.m. at the intersection of Blossom Street and Huger Street..

The Hyundai, according to the Highway Patrol, disregarded a traffic signal while traveling north on Blossom Street in an attempt to elude Cayce Department of Public Safety officers.

According to troopers, the Hyundai collided with Branch's Ford mini-van that was traveling west on Huger Street and a Dodge mini-van taxi that was traveling south on Blossom Street. The Ford hit the Columbia Antique Mall and caught fire.

As a result of the incident, Branch and the driver of the Hyundai died. The taxi driver was uninjured.

Three passengers in the Hyundai were transported to a local hospital. Their conditions are not known.

Governor Nikki Haley said late Friday morning that she and her family are heartbroken over Branch's death. "Everyone who knew him loved him," said Haley in an emailed statement. "His smile and laugh were contagious. He was a very special part of our family, and his gentle soul, good humor, and care will always be treasured memories for each of us."

Branch leaves a wife, Cherisse, and three children.

The Richland County Coroner's Office has not released the identity of the deceased driver of the Hyundai.

A representative of the Cayce Department of Public Safety declined to comment on the nature of the chase.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol, Cayce Department of Public Safety and Richland County Coroner's Office are investigating.

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