• York County community mourns reverend, teacher involved in fatal crash

    By: Greg Suskin , Elsa Gillis

    Updated:

    YORK COUNTY, S.C. - John O’Kain, a reverend and a public school teacher, was killed Tuesday morning when another driver tried to pass a school bus and hit him head-on in York County.

    A 31-year-old York man was driving a Ford F-150 in a legal passing zone on Highway 49 at Old Limestone Road around 8 am., troopers said, when he passed the bus and hit O'Kain's Prius head-on.

    The truck then sideswiped the York District 1 school bus. 

    O'Kain died at the scene. 

    “Everybody knew when you were with John that you were cared for,” Rev. Douglass Key said.

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    No students were on the damaged bus, and the bus driver and monitor were OK, according to troopers.

    The pickup truck driver was taken to a hospital with injuries. No charges have been filed.

    Community members shared stories with Channel 9 about the man who wore many hats, and was the father of two young children.

    “My last great real memory of him, he was chasing the boys around and they were laughing and he was laughing and they were squealing, and that’s who he was,” Key said.

    O’Kain was a reverend and musical director at Clover Presbyterian Church.

    “The first time I heard him sing, I was like, ‘Wow, you have such an incredible voice,’” Rev. Sam McGregor said.

    O'Kain's teaching career had also just begun at York Comprehensive High School.

    He completed his masters last spring at Winthrop University, where he also spent years as a campus minister.

    “I’m saddened that there are generations of students that will not have had them, but I know the students that did both here and Clover and their lives are better,” said Dave Vawter, an associate professor at Winthrop University.

    For those who have called O’Kain a friend for many years said they will hold on to the memories left behind.

    “I think John left his gifts in so many places,” McGregor said.

    “He was a remarkable singular soul and we're going to miss that light,” Key said.

    Check back with wsoctv.com for updates on this developing story.

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