BAMBERG – An 18-wheeler smashed into a Bamberg business while people were inside on Wednesday afternoon.

“I’m surprised no one got hurt,” Bamberg Police Chief James Smoak said.

A 74-year-old Sumter man experienced a medical episode at about 4 p.m. as his truck struck an unoccupied SUV and then crashed into Wayne’s Auto Clinic at 3738 Main Highway.

Three people were inside the building at the time of the collision, Smoak said. None were physically hurt.

Kenneth Utz was riding next to the tractor-trailer when it began to swerve.

“He started to swerve to the left, we kept swerving with him, blowing the horn. He eventually came across the grass, hit the back of the Jeep and came straight through the columns,” Utz said.

“We had to stop to keep him from hitting us,” he said.

Utz said he was the first one to enter the building and “luckily, nobody was hurt.”

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One man left through the back door, Utz said. “He said he heard a noise, didn’t think to look, nothing, he was just like: Jump! Jumped out the back door.”

Employee Edward Henderson said, “I was over there working and heard a noise come through and when I jumped up, I saw something come through.

“I kept running through the back. I don’t know how I cleared my own toolbox.

“I didn’t make no sense. It scared the hell out of me and I’m still nervous.”

Law enforcement was quick to respond to the scene as a Bamberg County sheriff’s deputy was near the building and heard a loud noise, Smoak said.

The deputy called for help.

The damage to the building is estimated at about $50,000.

Other agencies that responded to the scene include the Bamberg County Sheriff’s Office, Bamberg County EMS and the S.C. Highway Patrol.

Smoak said the driver of the tractor-trailer won’t face any charges in the incident.

T&D Web Editor Larry Hardy contributed to this report.

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