Bluffton Parkway was reopened to traffic just before 5:30 p.m. Wednesday after one person died in a single-vehicle wreck shortly after 3 p.m., according to Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office advisories.
Pressana Grant, 61, of Bluffton was identified as the driver, Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen said at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. An autopsy will be performed on Thursday at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.
The wreck closed all eastbound and westbound lanes of Bluffton Parkway between Bluffton Road and Burnt Church Road for just over 2 hours.
A 2004 Cadillac traveling west in the eastbound lanes ran off the roadway, struck a tree and caught fire, South Carolina Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Matt Southern said Wednesday afternoon. The vehicle was severely damaged and Grant died on scene due to injuries suffered in the crash. It is not yet known if Grant was wearing at seat belt at the time of the crash.
Capt. Randy Hunter with Bluffton Township Fire District called the collision “serious” and advised drivers to anticipate the road being “closed until further notice.” Hunter said drivers should not plan for the road to “be open any time soon.”
He recommended drivers avoid Bluffton Parkway between Burnt Church Road and the Bluffton Road traffic circle. Instead, use U.S. 278 or May River Road.
Elizabeth Merrill, who was driving westbound on Bluffton Parkway at the time of the crash, said a vehicle sped past her, swerved into eastbound traffic through an opening in the median, hit the median and then flipped back over into the westbound lanes in front of the Bluestone Apartments.
“I’ve never seen anything like that... it instantly burst into flames,” Merrill said.
Emergency personnel were on scene directing traffic, Beaufort County traffic cameras showed.
South Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.