Clarendon County, SC – Summerton Police Officer Carl Wiggins died in a motor vehicle crash as he was heading home from work early Monday morning.
Officer Wiggins, 63, clocked out at the Summerton Police Department at 6:15 a.m. and was headed home to Holly Hill in his personal vehicle when he ran out of gas on the I-95 Lake Marion bridge, Manning Live reported.
Officer Wiggins’ Chevy Blazer stopped in the right-hand lane, near the crest of the bridge.
He called someone for help, but when the person called him back to let him know that someone would be coming to assist, they received no answer, Summerton Mayor Mac Bagnal told Manning Live.
As Officer Wiggins waited in his vehicle, an 18-wheel tractor trailer slammed into him from behind.
“The driver [of the Blazer], who was entrapped, died on impact,” Clarendon County Coroner Bucky Mock said. “The driver was wearing a seat belt.”
The truck driver was uninjured and no charges have been filed, police said.
The South Carolina Multi-Disciplinary Accident Team is handling the ongoing crash investigation, South Carolina Highway Patrol Lieutenant Bob Beres told Manning Live.
“We are praying for [Wiggins’] family and his friends,” Bagnal said. ““He did a good job for the town…In a recent Town Council meeting, we talked about police officers and what a good job they were doing. [Wiggins] was mentioned, and Chief [Ray] Perdue stated he would like to have three more just like him.”
Officer Wiggins joined the Summerton Police Department in Feb. 2016 as a part-time officer.
He had also served as a Holly Hill police officer for over ten years, Holly Hill Police Chief Josh Detter told The Times and Democrat.
Officer Wiggins left the agency in 2013, and began working for the Santee Police Department.
At the time of his death, Officer Wiggins was only a few months away from his 35th anniversary as a law enforcement officer, WLTX reported.
"I can never remember a day when Carl came into work and complained about anything that had went on prior to the shift, after the shift," Chief Perdue told WLTX. "He would talk about his family, doing things with his family, the relationship with the town. He was not a complainer, if he said something to you it was positive."
"We could replace that position, but we can’t replace Carl," the chief added.
Officer Wiggins had been married to his wife, Patricia, for 21 years, according to his obituary.
He also leaves behind his sons, Kristopher and Cayce, his stepson, David Thornburg, and his grandchildren, Hunter and Hatcher, as well as his siblings and many friends and extended family members.
Officer Wiggins was laid to rest on Friday in Holly Hill.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Summerton Police Officer Carl Wiggins, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.