Bluffton, Savannah women die in US 17 crash

rlurye@islandpacket.comNovember 7, 2013 

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A Bluffton woman was identified Thursday as one of two people killed Wednesday in a crash on U.S. 17 in Jasper County.

Tonya Bergelt, 35, of Bluffton, and Rebecca Pirkle, 32, of Savannah died after a collision near the Back River Bridge, according to Jasper County Coroner Martin Sauls.

Bergelt was pronounced dead at Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, where she was flown by LifeStar Air Ambulance, Sauls said. Pirkle died at the scene of the wreck.

At about 5:30 p.m., one of the women, who was traveling north on U.S. 17, crossed the center lane of traffic and struck the other woman's car head-on, according to the S.C. Highway Patrol, which is investigating the crash. The Highway Patrol has not said which woman crossed into the southbound lane and attempts Thursday to reach a spokesperson were unsuccessful.

"It was an unbelievable impact," Sauls said.

Both bodies will be transported to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston for autopsy and toxicology reports, Sauls said.

Follow reporter Rebecca Lurye on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Rebecca.

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