An accident at Smith Lane closed May River Road in Bluffton from Buck Island Road to Buckwalter Parkway for about four hours on Tuesday.
The vehicles involved were a dump truck and a pickup truck, confirmed Capt. Lee Levesque, spokesman for the Bluffton Township Fire District. Both drivers were transported to area hospitals with severe injuries, he said.
Both drivers were Bluffton men and the only people inside their respective trucks, South Carolina Highway Patrol spokesman Lance Cpl. Matt Southern said Tuesday night. The trooper at the scene categorized their injuries as "incapacitating" for the pickup driver and "possible" for the dump truck driver.
The 52-year-old pickup truck driver was traveling eastbound on May River Road and the 32-year-old dump truck driver was traveling westbound when the dump truck crossed over the center line into the lane of oncoming traffic, Southern said.
The dump truck struck the pickup truck —but not head on, likely a glancing blow as if the pickup driver saw what was coming and tried to avoid it — and the pickup went off the road to hit a fence and a tree, Southern said.
The dump truck driver was issued a citation for driving left of center, Southern said. The trooper's report did not indicate there was any reason to believe the man was driving under the influence of something.
The pickup driver was airlifted to Savannah Memorial University Medical Center, Southern said. The dump truck driver was transported to Coastal Carolina Hospital by ambulance.
A helicopter landed at Bluffton High School to airlift the driver of the pickup truck from the scene around 11:30 a.m.
The school is the closest place to the accident scene where a helicopter can land safely, according Jim Foster, spokesman for the Beaufort County School District.
There was no emergency or injury at the school, Foster said.
The Highway Patrol responded to the accident at 10:44 a.m., according to traffic information provided by the agency. The crash occurred around 10:35 a.m.
Just before 3 p.m. Southern reported that the road was reopened.
Motorists were diverted to U.S. 278 while the accident scene was cleared.
Smith Lane is located between Buckwalter Parkway and Cahills Market. The Highway Patrol report indicated the crash happened near Sandbar Lane, which is less than a half-mile away, between Smith Lane and Buckwalter Parkway.