Man Loses Home in Fire, Gets Hit by Car


CLOVER, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) In a series of tragic events, a Clover man lost his home in a fire and then was hit by a car in the same night, fire officials say.

York County Fire Marshall Donnie Helms says firefighters responded to the home of Phil Pitts Jr., 61, early Sunday morning for a structure fire call.   Helms says the fire likely started because Pitts, who had not ridden his motorcycle in a while, left it running to keep the battery from dying.  Eventually, Helms says exhaust from the motorcycle built up on a wooden wall and caught fire, quickly spreading to the house and a car in the driveway.

Shelia Latta, who lives just a few homes down, says her brother called her around 1:30 a.m.

“Phil called me… and said get up here, my house is on fire,” recalls Latta.

Fire officials ruled the house as a total loss.  Latta says after getting checked out by EMS around 4 a.m., Pitts then started walking toward her house.  She was nearby in her car.

“My husband said, ‘That’s Phil there,’ and I started backing up to pick him up,” said Latta, “And this car on the other side of the road, out of nowhere, flying, almost hit me and Phil,”

Latta says Pitts was knocked into a ditch, while the driver of the car that hit him got out of his vehicle and ran into the woods.   Latta says her brother underwent emergency surgery.  She believes she knows who hit him, even say the person’s parents came by to apologize for what happened.

“We’re not mad at you.  Accidents happen, but just turn yourself in,” she pleads.

Latta says today her brother opened his eyes for the first time since the accident, giving them hope he will get through this.

South Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating.