Crime & Courts

A 21-year-old SC college student was killed after crashing into a tractor-trailer, coroner says

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A college community in South Carolina is in mourning after the death of a student.

After crashing into the rear of a tractor-trailer Wednesday night, Jackson Eugene Cowdrey was killed, according to the Greenville County Coroner’s Office.

The 21-year-old Greer resident was a student at Anderson University, coroner B. Parks Evans Jr. reported.

“The entire Anderson University family, (is) devastated by the passing of one of our own,” Anderson University President Dr. Evans P. Whitaker said in a statement, according to “In our grief, we are united in prayer for his family and friends, and invite the community to join us as we remember Jackson Cowdrey’s life and mourn his death.”

Cowdrey died following a collision that occurred at about 9 p.m., South Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Joe Hovis said. The Anderson University student was driving a 2002 Volvo south on I-85 in Greenville.

He was near Exit 51 when the heavy traffic he was in slowed because of “congestion and weather,” according to Evans. Cowdrey tried to swerve to the right to avoid hitting a tractor-trailer ahead of him, but was unable to avoid what Hovis said was a 2018 Freightliner.

Crowley, who was wearing his seat belt, was trapped in the wreck and had to “be mechanically extracted,” according to Hovis.

The 21-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene, the coroner reported.

The 60-year-old driver of the tractor-trailer was wearing a seat belt and was not injured, according to Highway Patrol.

Hovis said no charges will be filed in the fatal collision. It remains under investigation by both highway patrol and the coroner’s office, per Evans.

According to Whitaker, grief counselors are available for members of the Anderson University community, including students in Cowdrey’s classes, WYFF-4 reported.

“We are fervently committed as a family to provide whatever support is needed during this difficult time,” the university president said in a statement, according to

Cowdrey’s Facebook page shows he was an avid fisherman and attended Greer Middle College Charter High School.

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.