ORANGEBURG COUNTY, S.C. — The fatal accident on I-26 claimed the life of a North Carolina father and his two daughters.
Thomas Rusgrove, 37, and his two daughters, Ester, 14, and Jennie Ruth, 11, were all killed due to blunt force trauma sustained in the collision, according to officials with the Orangeburg County coroner's office.
In a statement released by the family through a family friend on Thursday, the family said Leslie, the wife and mother, is in stable condition in ICU. They also said Ethan, the son and sibling, has been moved to a step down unit.
"Ethan has already been moved into a step down unit. He is no longer in ICU. He still has a long road to recovery. Leslie is stable but still in ICU. We would like their incredible faith in Jesus Christ to be the main aspect. The entire family loves the Lord with their whole hearts and He is our strength and comfort during this very difficult time. Thanks, Holt/Rusgrove Family"
According to a GoFundMe account set up for the family, the Rusgrove family experienced was on the way home from a funeral in Florida when their van was struck by a tractor trailer. "Thomas (Father), Esther (14), and Ruthie (11) did not survive the crash. Leslie (Mother) and Ethan (16) are in stable condition at this time."
The accident on I-26 West near mile marker 154 closed all lanes of traffic near Exit 154 for Highway 301 to Orangeburg and Santee for nearly nine hours on Monday.
The accident happened around 1:15 p.m., according to S.C. Highway Patrol (SCHP), when a tractor trailer driving eastbound on I-26 crossed the center line, and struck a van with five people inside. Three people were killed and two others, a mother and child, were airlifted to a local hospital. The driver of the trailer was transported by EMS and has non-life threatening injuries.
The accident remains under investigation.