ORANGEBURG, S.C. – A high-speed wreck involving a semi-trailer truck and a van along a South Carolina interstate on June 24 killed three Todd residents, including two children, and injured two others — all from the same family.
Thomas Rusgrove, 37, and his two daughters Esther Rusgrove, 14, and Jennie Ruth Rusgrove, 11, all of Longhope Road in Todd, died from blunt-force trauma as a result of the wreck, according to a June 26 news release by Orangeburg County Chief Deputy Coroner Sean Fogle.
According to Cpl. E.W. Collins – a public information officer with the South Carolina State Highway Patrol – at around 1:15 p.m. on June 24, a semi-trailer truck traveling eastbound on I-26 at milemarker 154 near Orangeburg crossed over the median and struck a Toyota van head on.
The van contained five people, according to Collins, who have since been confirmed to be the Rusgrove family. According to Lance Cpl. David G. Jones, a public information officer with the S.C. SHP, one of the two surviving occupants was airlifted from the scene.
The two survivors, mother Leslie and 16-year-old Ethan, are in stable condition in a South Carolina hospital, the Rusgrove family said in a June 27 statement.
“Ethan has already been moved into a step down unit, so he is no longer in ICU. He still has a long road to recovery,” according to the statement. “Leslie is stable but still in ICU. The entire family loves the Lord with their whole heart and he is our strength and comfort during this very difficult time.”
According to her Facebook page, Leslie is the owner and doula of Midnight Cry Birth Services and an independent distributor of Young Living Essential Oils.
The driver of the truck, Kevin Thomas of Mt. Airy, S.C., was transported to a local hospital with injuries, Collins said. Other details on the wreck will be determined after an investigation by the S.C. Multi-Disciplinary Accident Investigation Team, which could take weeks, according to Jones.
All westbound lanes of I-26 were closed for over eight hours, reopening around 9:40 p.m., according to Jones’ Twitter account.
A GoFundMe page was organized by family friends Michael Stevens and Hope Yost on Wednesday.
The GoFundMe page can be found at www.gofundme.com/fundraiser-for-the-rusgrove-family. As of 5:30 p.m. on June 27, less than a day after being founded, it had raised over $26,600 of a $50,000 goal.
According to the page, the family was on their way back from a vacation in Florida when their van was struck.
“We are appealing to all friends and family to send whatever you can to support this family in their time of crisis,” the page states. “There are many areas that the family needs support with, such as funeral expenses, significant hospital care, and physical therapy. It is our hope that we can come together as a community to prevent these financial burdens from adding another weight to their shoulders as they make their physical and emotional recovery.”
Arrangements for Thomas, Esther and Jennie Ruth are being handled by Conner-Bowman Funeral Home, 62 Virginia Market Place Drive, Rocky Mount, Va., 24151. A celebration of life will be announced at a later date.