ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. — Four University of South Carolina Upstate students were killed in a crash early Sunday morning, including one Zephyrhills High School graduate.
The Spartanburg County Coroner’s Office says four people died and a fifth person was injured after their car struck a tree and caught fire Sunday morning in Boiling Springs, South Carolina. Lance Corporal Gary Miller, with the Highway Patrol, says that the car was heading east on 4th Street, near Highway 9, when it drove off the right side of the road, hit a tree and burst into flames.
Three people were pronounced dead at the scene — including 21-year-old Sarah Vande Berg of Zephyrhills — and two others were taken to the Spartanburg Regional Medical Center.
James Campbell was also pronounced dead at the scene. A third victim, 20-year-old Joshua Lee, was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead later on Sunday, the County Coroner said. The fourth victim has not been identified at this time.
According to USC Upstate, Vande Berg was from Zephyrhills, Florida and was a member of the women’s tennis team. Sarah played tennis at Zephyrhills High School where she served as team captain and lettered all four years. She was a senior at USC Upstate majoring in communication. USC Upstate’s website says Sarah was focused on landing a job at Disney after graduating.
“Sarah was a wonderful daughter,” said Todd Vande Berg of Zephyrhills told USC Upstate. “She had an outgoing personality and she truly loved people.”
James Campbell, a junior, was a native of Greenville and was a member of the Spartans men’s soccer team. Campbell graduated in 2013 and played soccer at Marshall University. He transferred to play at USC Upstate in January.
The university has scheduled a candlelight vigil that will begin Monday at 7 p.m. It will be held at the USC Upstate soccer stadium on campus.
Chancellor of the University, Dr. Thomas Moore, released a statement Sunday, which is posted below from the school’s website:
Dear Campus Community,
I write this email with great sadness. Early this morning several students were involved in a tragic car accident, and four students died as a result of the crash. A fifth student is in stable condition at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center. Names of the students involved have not been released.
There are no words to describe this loss to the USC Upstate family and no way to comfort the grieving families who have lost their loved ones. This tragedy will have tremendous impact on the Upstate community, individually and collectively. Counseling Services are available to all of us as needed during regular hours at 503-5195. If services are needed after hours, please contact University Police at 503-7777, and they will contact a counselor on call.
A candlelight vigil has been planned for 7 p.m. Monday on the soccer field. We will release more information as it becomes available.
Together we have been and always will be #SpartanStrong.
Thomas F. Moore, PhD
Chancellor, USC Upstate
WSPA contributed to this report.