HILTON HEAD

Hilton Head car fire victim not yet identified

astice@islandpacket.comDecember 20, 2012 

This vehicle caught fire Wednesday morning on the Cross Island Parkway at Palmetto Bay Road on Hilton Head Island at about 7 a.m., according to the Town of Hilton Head Fire & Rescue Division. The car's driver was killed.

PHOTO BY STEVE DESIMONE

The Beaufort County Coroner's Office has not released the name of a person killed when a car caught fire on the Cross Island Parkway early Wednesday morning.

A body was discovered inside the 2012 Volkswagen at 6:48 a.m. after the driver pulled over near the intersection of Palmetto Bay Road and Point Comfort Road.

Coroner Ed Allen said staff members traveled to the Medical University of South Carolina -- where the body was sent for an autopsy -- on Thursday afternoon to confirm the identity. The victim's name was not available for release as of Thursday evening, Allen said.

The S.C. Highway Patrol doesn't know exactly when, where or how the car fire began, according to Senior Trooper Bridget Wyant, a spokeswoman. The patrol believes the vehicle might have struck debris on the road, which punctured the gas tank, sparked the fire and blew out a tire.

Wyant said investigators won't be able to answer those questions because "there's nothing left to the car."

"We just know what witnesses told us about when they saw the fire," she said.

Those witnesses said the vehicle went through the toll booth headed west and made a U-turn. That's when other motorists noticed flames coming from the back of the car and attempted to alert the driver, Wyant said.

The Volkswagen went back through the toll booth heading east and continued for about three-quarters of a mile before pulling over. A person attempted to rescue the driver, but the vehicle was engulfed in flames, Wyant said.

"The only thing pending in our investigation is the autopsy," Wyant said.

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