Blythewood Man Killed in Car Fire

RICHLAND – A Blythewood man was killed last week in a single-vehicle crash in Northeast Richland County.

Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said Samuel L. Burgess Jr., 38, of 205 LongCreek Plantation Drive, was traveling on the 300 block of Rice Meadow Way when his car ran off the side of the road some time between 12:30 and 3 a.m. March 27 and struck a small tree. Watts said the damage to the car was minor and that the car may have gotten stuck in the sandy ground.

Watts said it was unclear if Burgess fell asleep in the crashed car with the engine still running or if Burgess had some other issue that prevented him from exiting the car; however, the car caught fire after the crash and was totally engulfed in flames by the time the fire department arrived on the scene. An autopsy conducted later that day indicated that Burgess died from smoke inhalation and thermal injuries as a result of the fire.

Burgess was the only occupant of the vehicle, Watts said.

The incident remains under investigation by the Richland County Coroner’s Office and Richland County Sheriff’s Department.