Columbia, S.C. – Four people have been pronounced dead on the scene after their vehicle crashed into a building and caught fire in Columbia near Williams-Brice Stadium.
At around 5:00am on Wednesday, January 18th, the victims’ vehicle ran off of George Rogers Boulevard and hit into the Farm Bureau Insurance Building. The vehicle exploded in flames upon impact with the building.
The 4 passengers in the vehicle were pronounced dead when medical responders arrived at the scene, and police were unable to identify the victims due to their severe burns. Investigators and the coroner’s office are currently attempting to identify the victims.
The cause of the incident is still under investigations and it is thought that the rainy weather may have been a possible factor.
***UPDATE: The victims in the fiery accident have been identified as 22-year-old Billings Fuess IV; 23-year-old Kelsey Harris; 22-year-old Brian McGrath, and 24-year-old Melinda Pipp. Three of the victims, Fuess, Harris, and McGrath were students at the University of South Carolina.
After investigation, it was found that McGrath was driving, and Fuess was in the passenger sitting in the front seat. Both Pipp and Harris were sitting in the back seat of the vehicle.
The coroner determined that the victims died prior to the car catching on fire due to multiple trauma.
The cause of the accident is still unknown at this time. Police are investigating why their car missed the sharp curve near the football stadium.
***UPDATE: It has been determined that the driver of the vehicle, Brian McGrath, was going 90 mph when the accident happened. Rain is also another factor that may have contributed to the crash.
Reports on whether alcohol or drugs played a role have not yet been released.