Orangeburg family devastated by death of 20-year-old soldier in Afghanistan

For generations, the Void family in Orangeburg County has sent its sons to war.

They always came home alive.

Until Tuesday.

Army Spc. Demetrius Lamar Void, 20, of Orangeburg, was killed when a military vehicle hit him on a base camp in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

"It's devastating for us," said the Rev. Keith Void, an uncle. "He was a loving person. He had a mind of his own."

The Army said Void was performing his routine physical training exercises when he was killed. His death is under investigation.

Void joined the Army after graduating from Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School in 2007.

He was following a military service tradition established by his grandfather and uncles, who served in World War II, Vietnam and during peacetime, said Keith Void, also a veteran.

"He wanted to experience something different," the uncle said.

In high school, Demetrius Void made an impression because of his focus on academics, two of his teachers said.

"He was competitive," said Deborah Hailey, who taught American literature during Demetrius Void's junior year. "He was concerned about his grades."

Sharlene Foster, who taught him calculus, said he was never shy about asking for help after class.

"He was determined that he wasn't going to let calculus beat him," Foster said. "He kept at it until he figured out that calculus."

Because of Void's academic success, teachers and family members expected him to go to college.

Keith Void didn't believe his nephew when he talked about joining the Army. So, he kept asking his nephew about financial aid applications.

But Demetrius Void enlisted.

"He said he was tired of school," Keith Void said. "He said he was tired of being smart."

Keith Void said he was never sure exactly what his nephew meant by that statement.

"That was Demetrius. Always different," his uncle said.

In the Army, Void served as an information systems operator and analyst. He was assigned to the 57th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 11th Signal Brigade, III Corps at Fort Hood, Texas.

He deployed to Afghanistan in April and his family expected him to come home in December for a two-week break, Keith Void said

The Army released few details about Void's death. The family said he was jogging with two friends when he was struck by an armored truck.

The truckdriver left the scene, said Keith Void, who described the accident as a "hit and run."

A funeral service will be planned once Void's body returns to South Carolina, Keith Void said. Stevens Funeral Home in St. Stephens is in charge of the arrangements.

Demetrius Void is survived by his mother, Sallie Void, and two brothers, Tacobi Void and Marcus Shuler.

He is the 18th person with S.C. ties to die in Afghanistan.