South Carolina Town’s First Black Mayor Dies in Car Crash: 'Everybody Loved Him'

Tony Junious, the 48-year-old mayor of Summerton, spent 20 years serving on county school boards before being elected mayor in 2022

<p>Mayor Tony Junious/Facebook</p> Summerton Mayor Tony Junious.

Mayor Tony Junious/Facebook

Summerton Mayor Tony Junious.

Tony Junious, the sitting mayor of Summerton, South Carolina, died in a car crash on Saturday.

Born and raised in Summerton, Junious, 48, was the first Black mayor of the town, which has a population of about 800 people, local outlets WIS-TV, WLTX and The Herald reported.

South Carolina Highway Patrol says the collision happened around 10:30 a.m. on Saturday at a Clarendon County intersection, per WIS-TV. The mayor was reportedly traveling west when his car collided with a vehicle traveling north, and his car struck a ditch. He was then taken to a hospital, where he later died.

The driver of the other vehicle involved was also taken to the hospital, but suffered non-fatal injuries in the wreck, per The Herald. Highway patrol is still investigating the crash.

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The Town of Summerton announced the news on Facebook on Sunday, writing that locals are “shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of our beloved Mayor.”

“Mayor Tony Junious’s life was dedicated to public service and his love for the Town of Summerton was constantly on display,” the post read. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Junious family during this difficult time.”

<p>Mayor Tony Junious/Facebook</p> Summerton Mayor Tony Junious.

Mayor Tony Junious/Facebook

Summerton Mayor Tony Junious.

Junious was elected in 2022, making history as Summerton's first Black mayor in a majority-Black town.

"I’m fond of the history being made, but I’m more excited that the citizens choose to elect me to serve as mayor, to help move the town forward," the mayor told WLTX at the time.

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Prior to taking office, Junious spent two decades serving on several school boards in the Clarendon County School District.

The district mourned his “tragic” death in a statement on Saturday, writing that he leaves behind a “legacy of unwavering commitment to improving the Clarendon County educational and Summerton communities.”

“In addition to his role on the board, Mayor Junious was an active member of the community, often volunteering at school events, advocating for student programs, mentoring young leaders, and providing scholarships and funding dinners for Scott’s Branch High School seniors,” the statement read. “His dedication to service extended beyond the school walls, touching the lives of many in our county and, most definitely, the city of Summerton.”

Summerton resident Isaac Pringle also mourned the loss of the mayor while speaking with WLTX, telling the outlet that "everybody loved him" and "everybody knew him.”

"Very beautiful, humble person, the best person. The first Black mayor we had right here in Summerton, South Carolina,” Pringle said, adding, “It's a big loss; we're humbled.”

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