Beaufort News

One man killed, driver jailed after SUV overturns

One man is dead and another is in jail after a driver fell asleep at the wheel and crashed an SUV on Interstate 95 in Jasper County at about 7 a.m. Sunday.

According to police, Jonathan Andrez-Gonzalez Ludvin was driving south in a 1999 Ford Explorer when he fell asleep near mile marker 29. He overcorrected and the van overturned.

Nine people were riding in the Explorer at the time of the crash; one passenger, Ernesto Santiz Lopez, was not wearing his seat belt and was thrown from the van as it overturned, according to a news release from Cpl. Bob Beres, S.C. Highway Patrol spokesman.

He was taken to Coastal Carolina Hospital and pronounced dead from blunt force trauma at 8 a.m., Jasper County Coroner Martin Sauls said. Lopez has relatives in Bluffton, Sauls said.

Ludvin, 20, of Charleston, fled the scene and was found nearby four hours later by the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office K9 Unit, according to the release.

Ludvin is being held at the Jasper County Detention Center and faces charges of leaving a scene involving a death, driving too fast for conditions and driving without a South Carolina driver's license.

The other passengers fled the scene after the crash, Sauls said.

The S.C. Highway Patrol is investigating the wreck.