73-year-old killed in 8-vehicle accident on Hwy 17 N

Photo from a driver at the scene.

MT. PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- A large dump truck collided into at least seven other vehicles and then became engulfed in flames. Traffic was then closed in front of Mount Pleasant Towne Centre -- closed for over six hours.

"I was in Walgreens and I heard a crash. Actually, I heard four crashes," Clay Rice said. "It sounded like four bombs going off. It was really bad. I knew it had been a bad accident."

The noise caught the attention of everyone around.

"I was sitting in work and we heard a bunch of booms. It almost sounded like a bomb gone off. It was a continuous crashing sound," Kailey Wilkins said.

Naturally, people who were nearby came outside and witnessed the horrific scene.

"I walked out and there was a dump truck on fire. There were flames about 40 feet in the air," Rice said. "Cars strewn all over the road. It was horrible."

Workers at Glasspro Pitt Stop across street, said their employees helped the victims in the vehicles before rescue crews arrived. David Butleh said it was pretty intense.

"We were there working and heard a large crash. We saw a dump truck going down 17. He was mowing through cars. He hit the curb and the second he hit the curb the cab engulfed in flames," Butleh said.

"A couple shop guys came over with fire extinguishers. Before we could get to the truck we noticed a lady under a Honda Accord," he said. "We picked up the car so she could be pulled away from it. We were trying to get the guy out of the truck, but couldn't get close enough because it was too hot."

From Venning Road to the Isle of Palms Connector, drivers were forced to look for alternate routes as officials investigated the scene.

Capt. Stan Gragg with the Mount Pleasant Police Department said the accident resulted in several people being transported to local hospitals.

Officials with the Charleston County Coroner's Office said 73-year-old James Cook of Summerville was the driver of the dump truck that died at the scene.

Autopsy results are expected for Wednesday.

Drivers were advised to seek alternate routes: Hungryneck, Rifle Range or Coleman.