Richland coroner identifies person killed during Thursday storm

Richland County Coroner Gary Watts released the name of a person killed during a thunderstorm.

George William Lebby was killed by a tree, Watts said. He lived on the 3000 block of Columbia Avenue in the Earlewood community in Columbia. The 61-year-old man was sitting in his backyard when the storm caused a tree to fall on him around 4:20 p.m. He died in his yard, according to Watts.

Gusts of wind that reached more than 50 miles per hour and heavy rains blasted Columbia beginning around 4 p.m. Thursday. The storm uprooted trees and caused power outages around the city.

No other storm-related deaths have been reported in Richland County, Watts told The State Thursday.

David Travis Bland won the South Carolina Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for community journalism. As The State’s crime, police and public safety reporter, he strives to inform communities about crimes that affect them and give deeper insight into victims, the accused and law enforcement. He studied history with a focus on the American South at the University of South Carolina.