Arthur Strudwick tried each day to make a difference as a city of Columbia forestry employee, and his boss said he was doing that when he was killed in a crash during Tropical Storm Irma.
Strudwick, 48, was critically injured when he lost control of the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado he was driving in the 5400 block of Farrow Road just before 8 p.m. Monday, according to a news release by the Columbia Police Department. He was rushed to a hospital, where he died died of blunt force trauma to the upper body.
Strudwick, an assistant superintendent with city’s Forestry and Beautification Division of the Public Works department since 2001, was en route to a downed tree when the crash happened, City Manager Teresa Wilson said in a statement.
Police believe Strudwick lost control of the truck, drove off the road and crashed into a tree. The exact cause of the crash remains under investigation, but weather is believed to be a contributing factor.
“He was a model employee for the City of Columbia,” said Public Works director Robert Anderson. “He cared about what he did for the citizens and wanted to make a difference each day.”
At Irmo’s Episcopal Church of St. Simon and St. Jude, Strudwick was involved in many of the church’s ministries and taught elementary Sunday school with his wife Jennifer, according to Father Mark Abdelnour, pastor.
“There wasn't a cynical bone in his body,” Abdelnour said. “He was the most open and loving guy I knew.”
Strudwick’s open personality made him a good fit for many of the church’s ministries, including Sharing God’s Love, feeding the homeless and preventing child abuse.
“Arthur was always in the middle of all that,” Abdelnour said. “I couldn't get the guy to say no.”
Flags were flown at half-staff at all city buildings in memory of Strudwick.
Officials on Tuesday attributed at least three other deaths in South Carolina to Tropical Storm Irma.