COLLETON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - One man is dead and another injured after a tractor trailer ran off the highway and struck several trees on I-95 Friday afternoon.
Officials with Colleton County Fire and Rescue say the accident happened in the northbound lanes a mile south of the Hampton-Colleton County Line near mile marker 39.
According to authorities, the loaded tractor trailer went down an embankment near the Combahee River.
"One tree split the cab in two, trapping both occupants and breaching a large diesel fuel tank, spilling a large quantity of fuel at the scene," stated a report by CCFR.
Colleton units reported that when they arrived, Hampton County responders were actively working to extricate the passenger; paramedics and an off-duty NC nurse were treating both patients.
CCFR officials say the driver was pinned between the dash and the tree, and was in critical condition.
"Personnel began removing portions of the cab while other Firefighters rigged chains to pull the cab away from the tree," stated a report by CCFR."Approximately 20 minutes later Hampton Firefighters freed the passenger from the sleeper area of the truck. His arm had been pinned between the roof and the tree. The man was able to climb down a ladder and ambulate with assistance to a nearby stretcher."
The passenger was transported to Colleton Medical Center.
"There were several tense moments when the truck caught fire twice during the extrication," CCFR officials said.
Emergency officials say the driver was freed at 3:17 p.m., an hour after the extrication began. CCFR officials say the man had been trapped in the vehicle for nearly an hour and a half.
The man was transported to Colleton County Medical Center, however authorities say he died of his injuries.
Authorities say traffic on I-95 was down to one lane for over five hours and backed up for several miles.
The Highway Patrol and State Transport Police are investigating the accident.