“I never thought this day would come,” Cotton Carraway said.

His 18-year-old son, Lucas Marshall Carraway, was killed in a single-vehicle crash in Orangeburg County early Sunday morning.

Four of his son’s closest friends were in the car with him. His friends were injured.

Lucas Carraway, of Summerton, was a passenger in the 2007 Toyota Camry.

The Camry was traveling on S.C. Highway 47, about one mile south of Elloree, when it went off the right side of the road, struck a culvert and overturned around 2:45 a.m., according to South Carolina Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Lena Butler.

Lucas Carraway died at the scene.

“He was a wonderful, awesome kid,” his father said.

He was employed by T&T Metal Roofing and Supply while enrolled at Central Carolina Technical College.

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The past few days have been difficult for Cotton Carraway, but he’s finding strength.

He said his strength is from Jesus Christ.

In addition to his father, Lucas Carraway leaves behind his mother, Mary Alanna Peak Hall, and siblings, Kristen Carraway and Karley Hall.

Lucas Carraway was a 2022 graduate of Holly Hill Academy.

He became part of “the band of brothers” at the school, his father said.

He was part of the school’s football team.

Lucas Carraway played both years Holly Hill Academy won the S.C. Independent School Association’s eight-man football state championship.

HHA Athletic Director Michael Nelson said Lucas Carraway played wide receiver and defensive back in football.

In basketball, he was a guard. In baseball, he was a middle infielder, shortstop and second-baseman, Nelson said.

“I’ve been doing this for 13 years. He’s probably the best teammate I’ve ever been around,” Nelson said.

“He had an unselfish character, putting his team above himself,” he said.

“People would come to the game to watch Lucas cheer his team from the bench,” he added, explaining that Lucas Carraway gave as much of himself in the game as he did on the sidelines when he wasn’t playing.

“His energy was contagious,” he said, noting that the teen enjoyed dancing and singing too.

“The kid had a bright future,” Nelson said.

“He was like a son to me. I feel like I’ve lost one of my own,” he added.

Chasity Avinger, of Elloree, feels the same way.

One of her sons, Cooper Canaday, 18, a senior at Calhoun Academy, was also a passenger in the Camry with Lucas Carraway.

“Lucas was a family member to them,” Avinger said.

“He was in and out of our house all of the time. We loved him dearly,” she added.

“On the sidelines, he was running up and down yelling for everybody else,” she said.

“He was just a wonderful, wonderful kid who loved his family and loved his friends like they were family,” she added.

“I can’t describe how much he will be missed. The loss for his family is just incomprehensible to me,” she said.

“It will be an incredibly difficult loss for all of these kids,” she said.

“It’s very hard to put into words the depth of that,” she noted.

“For young people, in particular, it’s very hard for them because it’s not supposed to be this way,” Avinger said.

Avinger said she learned about the crash just before 7 a.m. on Sunday.

The doorbell rang.

“And as a parent, you wake up and know that is not a good sign,” she said.

“I was a little confused because I’d heard my children come in that night,” she said, “I did not realize that two of them came in and not all of them.”

The person who was at the door told her that there’d been a serious accident and she needed to go to MUSC-Orangeburg as quick as possible.

Avinger went to the Emergency Department and staff there directed her to her son’s room.

“And when I opened the door and saw him, I cannot explain the overwhelming emotion I had in that moment,” she said.

“My son fared the best of everyone,” Avinger said, noting that Canaday had been ejected from the car.

“Injury-wise, he has several broken bones, a head injury – a concussion, cuts and bruises and road rash from his scalp to the soles of his feet,” she said.

“And we are so thankful for the care (Orangeburg County) EMS provided and the staff here at (MUSC) Orangeburg. They were wonderful with the children and the families in a very, very difficult situation,” she said.

She said one of the passengers remains hospitalized at MUSC-Orangeburg while two other passengers are receiving additional treatment at other hospitals.

Canaday was discharged on Sunday.

Her sons were previously students at HHA, but later transferred to Calhoun Academy.

She said the support her child, the other injured children and their parents are receiving from both Holly Hill Academy and Calhoun Academy is unbelievable.

As word has gotten out, other SCISA schools are also showing their support.

At the baseball playoff game at Jefferson Davis Academy on Monday night, students decorated the dugout with posters featuring phrases like, “Praying for HHA” and “Fly high Lucas.”

Students at Orangeburg Prep’s Upper Campus are leading a prayer time for Lucas Carraway’s family and the four injured teens at 7:45 a.m. Tuesday by the flagpoles.

Lucas Carraway’s funeral is set for Wednesday in Summerton.

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