Friends remember Lexington County couple killed in motorcycle crash with deer

Friends remember Lexington County couple killed in motorcycle crash with deer
James Derek Payne and Ruth Hunt Payne (Source: Jenna Cisneros/ Payne family)

LEXINGTON, S.C. (WIS) - Friends and family are remembering a beloved Lexington County couple who died from injuries after their motorcycle collided with a deer last week.

The crash happened Saturday around 11:30 a.m. on U.S. 378.

James Derek Payne, 54, was driving with his wife, Ruth Hunt Payne, on the back of the bike when they hit a deer.

Ruth Payne died at the scene from her injuries.

Crews rushed Derek Payne to the hospital, but he died from his injuries on Wednesday morning.

The Payne’s leave behind four sons, one daughter and a loving family. Derek’s sister-in-law tells WIS by phone they were the perfect couple, with a fantastic heart and full of life.

It’s not only been an emotional week for the family, but also for friends and colleagues.

Cherry Dudney worked closely with and Derek Payne for years. Derek was a truck driver, and Dudney helped assign his loads.

“Just a super great guy, hard worker, and the best truck driver I have ever had the privilege of working with,” Dudney said. [He is the] first person I talked to a 7 o’clock in the morning when I got into my vehicle driving to my office, was Derek.”

Dudney said her world changed when she heard the news.

“Just panic, I just panicked. It was just heart wrenching,” Dudney said. “To know that this person you deal with on a daily basis, who has become so viable in your relationship of business and personal an intricate part of your life, they’re gone.”

“This could have happened to anyone,” Dudney said. “[If] the timing had been two seconds later or two seconds sooner, you know would we be having this conversation?”

Both and husband and wife were wearing helmets when they crashed, the coroner said.

There is a fundraiser set up to help pay for the couple’s funeral expenses. Click here to donate.

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