SC community mourns volunteer firefighter killed in 3-car wreck

CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. — A volunteer firefighter killed in a head-on wreck in Chester County will receive full honors at his funeral service Sunday.

Adam Swygart, 22, was driving home Thursday on Highway 97 outside Chester, South Carolina, when a Dodge truck sideswiped a van and slammed into his Toyota pickup.  He died at the scene.

Lee Brantley, Blackstock-Woodard's Volunteer Fire Department chief, knew Swygart for most of his life.

"He had everything it takes," Brantley said. "It’s just a terrible loss."

Blackstock-Woodard is just one of many places where Swygart, known as “Swag,” gave his time to help others.

Swygart also volunteered at the Chester and South Chester fire departments. He was not on the roster at the rescue quad, but he often helped out.

Flags have been lowered to mark the loss and a white bow hangs outside the Chester Fire Department.

"I think God gives us all a light to shine, and Adam shone brightly, in many directions," Fire Chief Paul Caldwell said.

Many of the firefighters who knew Swygart best had to respond to the accident Thursday.

Gene Hudson, South Chester fire and rescue squad chief, was one of them.

"Guys that live right there next to him within a half mile of his house that he grew up with were the first guys on scene," Hudson said.  "It was hard on them."

When they realized who was involved in the crash, they called in other fire departments to help and backed off.

"We just stood back and let them handle it," Hudson said.

Swygart had recently graduated from the University of South Carolina-Lancaster and wanted to be a fire investigator.

"He will be missed, very badly," Brantley said. "You have to love it to do it. It takes a special person to be in the fire service."

Troopers said William Brown, 40, drove the truck that crossed the center line for unknown reasons, and side-swiped a van, before striking Swygart head-on.

Brown is an employee of Truvista, a communications company in Chester. On Friday, that company released this statement about the crash.

"We are heartbroken and deeply saddened that a volunteer firefighter from Chester County lost his life in this terrible tragedy. All of our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and loved ones," Brian Singleton, president and CEO of Truvista, said.

Brown, who was not injured, has not been charged, as the crash is still under investigation.

Swygart's service is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday at Westside Baptist Church in Chester and burial following the service at Chester Memorial Gardens.

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