Claflin University Mourns The Loss of Four Students That Died in Car Accident on Interstate 77 in Columbia

Melvin Jackson, Jr. – Chester, SC – Senior

Darrell Pendergrass – Society Hill – Senior

Keeron McElveen – Kingstree – Freshman

Jamarius Bruce – Darlington – Freshman

Orangeburg – The coroner’s office has released the names of four Claflin University students that died in a car accident this week on Interstate 77 in Columbia, S.C.

The deceased students are Melvin Lonell Jackson Jr., a senior from Chester, S.C.; Darrell Renard Pendergrass, a senior from Society Hill, S.C.; Keeron Q. McElveen, a freshman from Kingstree, S.C. and Jamarius Kel’Shawn Bruce, a freshman from Darlington, S.C.

All four were sport management majors at Claflin.

A fifth student, Gernardo Cato, a freshman from Goose Creek, S.C., remains in a Columbia hospital.

“We are hurting and are saddened to hear about the untimely death of four of our students. I call upon the Claflin family to draw closer together and remain strong as we try to comprehend the loss of these members of our Claflin family,” said President Henry N. Tisdale.

“Our prayers are also with the families and friends who are connected with the accident victims and with the student who is still in the hospital.”

The University is providing counseling services for Claflin students in Corson Hall and in the Chaplain’s Office.

The Chapel will remain open for reflection and prayer.

The University held a prayer service after the fatal accident in the W.V. Middleton Fine Arts Center.

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