Charges made in accident that killed, injured firefighters

Neida Ortega / Richland County

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Charges have been made in an accident that killed a Midlands firefighter and left another severely injured in the line of duty Saturday.

Officials say 34-year-old Neida Ortega of Sumter was driving too fast for conditions on I-20 when the vehicle she was driving entered the median and struck the two firefighters.

Ortega is also charged with not having a valid driver's license. Officials say she has a Mexican driver's license and has been here since 2008 which requires her by law to get a U.S. issued license.

Chance Hyatt Zobel was the Columbia-Richland Firefighter who lost his life.

Chief Jenkins said Zobel was a three year veteran with Engine Company 4 and stationed at Spears Creek Church Road. Zobel started with the Department in October 2007 as a Fire Flow Tech and transferred to Suppression in November of 2009.

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The second Firefighter is Larry Kewon Irvin. He was taken to the hospital in critical but stable condition. Irvin has been with the Department for over three years and was hired in January 2007.

Zobel and Irvin were responding to a brush fire near Clemson Road when the crash occurred.

Officials continue their investigation. Ortega's status has been turned over to immigrations.

Funeral services will be held for Zobel at the Shandon Baptist on Forest Drive at 1 p.m. Wednesday.