Mayor of South Carolina town killed in car crash, officials say

The mayor of a South Carolina town was killed Saturday in a car crash that left another person hospitalized, officials said.

The Clarendon County Coroner’s Office said 48-year-old Summerton Mayor Tony Junious died in an accident, Manning Live reported.

The two-vehicle collision happened at about 10:45 a.m. in Clarendon County, said Master Trooper William Bennett of the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

Junious was driving a 2010 Chevrolet Impala that collided with a 2013 Dodge Charger at the intersection of Governor Richardson Road and Liberty Hill Road, according to Bennett. The Chevy then ran off the right side of the road and crashed into a ditch, Bennett said.

Both Junious and the Dodge driver were taken to an area hospital, where Junious later died, according to Bennett. Further information on the Dodge driver’s condition was not available.

No other injuries were reported.

Tony Junious, the Mayor of Summerton, died in a car crash.

Tony Junious, the Mayor of Summerton, died in a car crash.

Junious’ death was mourned by the Clarendon County School District, which said he had previously served as a board member for 20 years before becoming Summerton’s first Black mayor in 2022.

“It is with deep sorrow and profound respect that we announce the passing of Mayor Tony Junious, a dedicated and esteemed member of our school district family,” school district officials said in a news release. “Mayor Junious … (leaves) behind a legacy of unwavering commitment to improving the Clarendon County educational and Summerton communities.”

The school board said Junious was an active member of the community whose dedication extended beyond the school walls.

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of Mayor Junious, who was a valued member of our school board and a cherished pillar in our educational community,” Clarendon County School District Superintendent Dr. Shawn Johnson said in the release. “His dedication to our schools, commitment to educational excellence, and passion for student success were unparalleled. Likewise, the impact on our district and the lives of those he touched will be felt for many years to come.

“We have lost a remarkable individual, but his legacy will continue to inspire us all through the completion of projects he fought for in the Summerton community. Our hearts go out to his family during this difficult time.”

Junious tried to lift up the community following a mass shooting at a graduation party in 2022.

“Our Summerton Community is wounded at this moment,” Junious said after eight people were shot and one of them, a 32-year-old woman, died. “We’re praying for the families involved in this tragedy.”

Tony Junious, the Mayor of Summerton, died in a car crash.

Tony Junious, the Mayor of Summerton, died in a car crash.

There was no word if either Junious or the Dodge driver were wearing their seat belts.

Information about what caused the cars to collide was not available, but the crash continues to be investigated by the Highway Patrol.

Through Jan. 15, 26 people have died on South Carolina roads in 2024, according to the state Department of Public Safety. Last year, 999 people died in crashes in South Carolina, DPS reported.

At least one person has died in a Clarendon County crash in 2024, according to DPS data. There were 14 deaths reported in the county in 2023, DPS reported.

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