DILLON, S.C. — Three Robeson County residents, including two former high school football players, were killed in a single-vehicle accident on Saturday morning in South Carolina.
Derrick Baker, an 18-year-old who played at Fairmont High last season, and Andrew Hill, an 18-year-old who led South Robeson High to the third round of the state playoffs during the 2013 season, were killed in the crash. Twenty-three-year-old Wesley Chavis, of Fairmont, also died in the accident on Highway 301 North in Dillon, according to the South Carolina Highway Patrol.
Details of the crash were not available, but the South Carolina Highway Patrol said that it appeared the Chevrolet Impala left the highway and hit a tree. The SCHP’s Multi-disciplinary Accident Investigation Team is leading the investigation.
Hill played at multiple county schools throughout his career and finished it last season as the focal point of a two-tiered rushing attack at South Robeson. He accumulated more than 1,600 rushing yards in his senior campaign and was a four-time all-county selection.
“He was an awesome player,” said Stephen Roberson, who coached Hill during his senior season at South Robeson and as a jayvee player at Purnell Swett. “There was a lot of physical ability that was still untapped.
“He was by far more talented than any of his teammates at any other level.”
Hill’s career also included a stop at Fairmont, where he contributed to the Golden Tornadoes’ rushing game in the 2011 season.
“A lot of people have a perception of Andrew and what kind of kid he is,” said Roberson, who now coaches at Westover in Fayetteville. “He wasn’t an angel but he had a big heart. He cared about his teammates.”
Fairmont football coach Randy Ragland said that Baker only played part of the 2013 season with the Golden Tornadoes, despite starting the year as one of The Robesonian’s top 25 players in the county.
He was the team’s main ball-carrier during the 2012 season, when he averaged 7.1 yards per carry and had five touchdowns.
“Every time I saw Derrick in the hallway he was upbeat,” Ragland said. “It was sad news we got this morning.”
Fairmont Athletics Director Michael Baker, who is not related to Derrick, remembered Derrick for both his play and for his love of rapping.
“He was a really nice kid, a lot of fun,” Baker said. “No discipline problems at all.”
The accident is the second to shake the Fairmont community in just more than two years. Fairmont High football players Tyreke Addison and Nokolma Hunt both died in a single-car accident in July 2012. They were passengers in a car that left the road while traveling on N.C. 41 and struck a tree.
Scott Schlaufman works for Civitas Media as sports editor for The Robesonian.