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City mourns loss of a hard worker

Loris mourns the loss of a city worker.  Anthony “Rabbit” Melvin, who worked as a water crew leader, died in a motorcycle accident on Sunday, July 28, at approximately 9:30 p.m.

Melvin was traveling south on Highway 701 when he attempted to pass a vehicle that resulted in a head-on collision with a truck.

The Loris Fire Department volunteers were the first to arrive on the scene. As they assessed the accident they realized that was a fatality, but not just a fatality in itself, but realizing who the individual was made it more difficult for the LFD volunteers to see the end of a life of one they worked with through the seven years Melvin worked for the city of Loris.

The LFD was assisted by the Tabor City Fire Department, Loris Police, Horry County Police Department, South Carolina Highway Patrol and the Horry County Coroner’s Office.

“Rabbit” has touched so many lives of his co-workers and those who worked closely with him.  Samantha Norris, executive director of the Loris Chamber of Commerce, said that he was one to speak up to work the festivals, assisting the chamber with tasks for setting up until the festivals end.  She said, “He and other city employees would help clean up after the crowds were gone.”  She said he liked working the festivals because in trade he was able to take a week day off to balance out the pay.  Todd Harrelson said, “The city lost a good hard worker, everyone is going to miss Rabbit.”  Brandon Harrelson who worked closely with Rabbit appreciates the prayers offered. He said, “We lost a great guy, he will truly be missed by all; I pray the days ahead will be easier.”

Von Williams said, “He was a good guy, we surely will miss him.”  When asked how Melvin got the nickname Rabbit, Williams said, maybe because he was wide open, he was a busy guy.  Richard Green said that Rabbit loved to ride motorcycles and feels he has lost a good friend.  Jermaine Bessant said “He was my supervisor.  He taught me everything about the water department.”  He also stated that he and a few others were hanging out on Sunday, as they headed toward Tabor City they were in a truck a few cars ahead of Melvin.  When they noticed something was not right and saw brake lights in the north bound lane of Highway 701 they turned around to see if they could help.  Bessant said, “It is something I will never forget.  He was such a good man.” 

Lt. Robert Rudelitch, fire marshal and training coordinator for the LFD, said they have responded to four accidents within the same area in the last seven days.  He said that although the other accidents did not involve a fatality, there have been injuries where the occupants of the vehicles have been taken to area hospitals. 

Rudelitch suggests some safety tips for motorists to follow. Leave enough space between vehicles for safe stopping distance. He said, “I learned the one-one-thousand techniques to monitor the space between vehicles, it is easy to use counting between telephone poles.”  It is suggested highway drivers leave a three car length between the vehicles in front. The areas near the convenience stores are notorious for abrupt stopping which could cause a rear-end collision or a pile-up if others behind the stopped vehicles do not stop. Plan ahead in travel plans for delays. Distracted driving is dangerous. Move over and slow down when approaching emergency vehicles (fire/police/EMS/towingpublic works/utilities/highway teams) and wear your seatbelt at all times.

This is one of the three parts of Highway 701 North that is considered dangerous areas due to heavy traffic flow in and out of the convenience stores, speed and heavy traffic.  The S.C.P.D. is still investigating the accident.

Melvin’s funeral will be held at Loris High School on Friday, Aug. 2, at 12 p.m.

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