Two Beaufort County men — Richard Allen Rottet, a 17-year-old Beaufort High School senior and Charles Jason Anderson, 27 — died in a three-car wreck on S.C. 170 near Callawassie Island at about 10 p.m. Tuesday.
Jasper County Coroner Martin Sauls said it "looks like one car crossed the center line and struck another head-on."
Sauls also confirmed one of the cars burst into flame after the wreck, near S.C. 170's intersection with Old Bailey Road.
The S.C. Highway Patrol, which is leading the investigation, confirmed on its website that there were two fatalities. Beaufort County School District spokesman Jim Foster said the 17-year-old was a Beaufort High School student.
The third person injured in the wreck, Joseph Owens, 41, was going eastbound in a 2002 Mitsubishi sedan and was injured after the first collision. Owens was transported to Beaufort Memorial Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to Hardeeville Fire Chief Daniel Morgan.
Beaufort High principal Corey Murphy said Rottet was "quiet, but his presence was known in his classes." He loved engineering and was in a physics and engineering club at school called Project Lead The Way.
"He was a leader in that program," Murphy said. "That was his niche."
Murphy said Rottet is the fourth Beaufort High student killed in the past 6 months.
The Highway Patrol, the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office, the Hardeeville Fire Department and the Jasper County Fire and Rescue Division all responded to the accident, which closed a quarter-mile stretch of the highway for about three hours.
The Highway Patrol has declined to comment until a press release is issued. It's not clear when that release will be given.