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Update: Marine killed in Saturday afternoon vehicle collision near MCAS Beaufort

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A Marine was killed in a crash near Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort on Saturday afternoon.

Lance Cpl. Derrick Thirkill, 21, of Florence, Alabama, was an active-duty Marine stationed in Beaufort, said Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen.

The collision happened around 4 p.m. at the intersection of Shanklin Road and U.S. 21, according to the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

A 2016 Hyundai Elantra was traveling south on U.S. 21 when Thirkill’s 2014 Ford Focus turned into its path from Shanklin Road, said Cpl. Sonny Collins, spokesman for the highway patrol.

Thirkill, the driver, was killed in the crash, Allen said.

His wife and 5-month-old child also were in the vehicle, he said.

Thirkill was a water purification support technician with Marine Wing Support Division 273, said Second Lt. Kevin L. Buss, MCAS Beaufort’s Communication Strategy and Operations director. He had been stationed at MCAS Beaufort since August 2017.

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Derrick Thirkill, pictured with his family on Facebook, died in a vehicle crash Saturday in Beaufort. Facebook

Thirkill was a 2016 graduate of Florence High, where he was a quarterback on the football team, according to Max Preps.

His Facebook page states that he married his wife, Olivia, in 2018.

Friends posted messages mourning Thirkill’s death on social media Monday.

“My heart is absolutely breaking. Please keep the Thirkill family in your thoughts and prayers as they have lost such a selfless, brave, and incredible human being. Derrick Thirkill was a good friend to everyone he knew. He ALWAYS knew how to brighten up someone’s day,” one of the posts read.

Read another: “Waking up on a day supposed to be filled with happiness for all fathers, I’m sadden to hear that a close friend and brother passed away. Derrick Thirkill, you were a great leader and role model for many.”

Lisa Wilson is a reporter for The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette. The 25-year newsroom veteran has worked for papers in Louisiana and Mississippi and is happy to call the Lowcountry home.
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