U.S. Forest Service Firefighter Killed in South Carolina Crash

The firefighter was driving a Forest Service truck back from a controlled burn.


HUGER, S.C.-- A head-on collision on Steed Creek Road claimed the lives of a truck driver and a U.S. Forest Service firefighter Thursday night, authorities said.

The crash near Halfway Creek Road unfolded around 8 p.m. Kenneth Fahey, 35, of Cordesville was driving north in a Forest Service truck, while Lonnie Nettles, 43, of Johns Island was headed south in an 18-wheeler, Berkeley County Chief Deputy Coroner Bill Salisbury said.

After impact, both vehicles burst into flames with the drivers pinned inside the wreckage, Salisbury said. The deputy coroner pronounced the men dead at the scene.

Highway Patrol investigators think the Chevrolet 3/4-ton Forest Service truck crossed into the opposite lane of traffic but weren't sure why, Cpl. Paul Brouthers said.

Fahey worked as a forestry technician and a firefighter, Forest Service spokeswoman Gwen Beavans said. He is survived by a wife, Nicole Lindsay Fahey, and two elementary-school-age children.

"Everybody loved him," Beavans said. "We're asking for prayers for his family."

Fahey joined the Forest Service in 2001, initially working near Brevard, N.C., she said. He relocated to the Francis Marion National Forest in October 2005.

At the time of the wreck, he was returning from a controlled burn, Beavans said. The Forest Service will launch its own investigation into the crash, following standard agency procedure.

Nettles was returning to Sunbelt Rentals on Clements Ferry Road after making deliveries, Salisbury said. An obituary notice describes Nettles as a truck driver for Sunbelt. He is survived by his wife, Sherry Walker Nettles.

Republished with permission of The Post and Courier.

Funeral Information

The memorial service for Firefighter Fahey will be held Friday, Feb. 2 at 2:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Bonneau, 108 West Church St, Bonneau, S.C.

Memorials may be made to the Clain Nolan Fahey College Scholarship Fund, c/o Shelley Lindsay, 122 Sawyer Drive, Aliquippa, PA 15001 or to SUNY-ESF, The Ranger School, P.O. Box 48, Wanakena, NY 13695.

Please make checks payable to ESF Foundation, In Memory of Kenneth P. Fahey.