Horry, South Carolina Fireman Hurt in Car Crash

An off-duty Horry County fire department lieutenant was hurt in a head-on collision Sunday afternoon that blocked traffic on S.C. 905 for nearly two hours.

Kenneth B. Roberts, 35, a fireman and Conway resident, was in critical condition Sunday evening at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, but he was expected to be taken to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, officials said.

The other person involved in the wreck, a 19-year-old Horry County resident whose name was not available, was flown by Carolina Life Care helicopter to MUSC from the wreck scene and was in critical condition, said Todd Cartner, public information officer for the Horry County Fire Department.

The driver was thrown from his 1995 Geo after losing control of the car, crossing the center line and hitting Roberts' 2003 Chevrolet Impala head-on, Lance Cpl. Paul Brouthers of the S.C. Highway Patrol said.

Roberts was driving north on S.C. 905 when his vehicle was hit about seven miles north of Conway, Brouthers said.

The wreck happened about 5:05 p.m. and blocked traffic for about two hours.

Officials didn't know Sunday why the driver of the Geo lost control of the car. The investigation continues.

On Sunday evening, about 20 Horry County firefighters waited for word on Roberts' condition outside Grand Strand Regional Medical Center. Roberts has worked with Horry County for 10 years and is a lieutenant at the Socastee station.

"When you are involved in public safety, it's like a family," Horry County Fire Chief Garry Alderman said.

Responding to a call that involves a colleague takes its toll, he said.

"It's tough when it is another firefighter. Your adrenaline starts flowing a little more," Alderman said.

"You've got to do your job and worry about it later. It puts a lot of emotion on the crew," he said.

Distributed by the Associated Press