Four Claflin University Students Die in Car Accident on Interstate 77 in Columbia, S.C.

Oct 15, 2016

The coroner’s office has released the names of four Claflin University students that died in a car accident yesterday evening on Interstate 77 in Columbia, S.C.  The deceased students are Melvin Lonell Jackson Jr., a senior from Chester, S.C.; Darrell Renard Pendergrass, a senior from Society Hill, S.C.; Keeron Q. McElveen, a freshman from Kingstree, S.C. and Jamarius Kel'Shawn Bruce, a freshman from Darlington, S.C. 

All four were sport management majors at Claflin.

A fifth student, Gernardo Cato, a freshman from Goose Creek, S.C., remains in a Columbia hospital.

"We are hurting and are saddened to hear about the untimely death of four of our students. I call upon the Claflin family to draw closer together and remain strong as we try to comprehend the loss of these members of our Claflin family,” said President Henry N. Tisdale. “Our prayers are also with the families and friends who are connected with the accident victims and with the student who is still in the hospital.”

The University is providing counseling services for Claflin students in Corson Hall and in the Chaplain’s Office. The Chapel will remain open for reflection and prayer. The University held a prayer service at noon earlier today in the W.V. Middleton Fine Arts Center.

For more information, please call the Office of Communications and Marketing at 803-535-5350 or email

Jamarius Kel'Shawn Bruce

Claflin Student Jamarius Kel'Shawn Bruce

Darrell Renard Pendergrass

Claflin Student Darrell Renard Pendergrass 

Keeron Q. McElveen

Claflin Student Keeron Q McElvenn

Melvin Lonell Jackson Jr.

 Claflin Student Melvin Lonell Jackson Jr
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