Fiery Wreck Claims Life

"It's terrible, a terrible scene!"

This is how Leroy Portis describes the accident.

"He didn't have a chance to get out."

Portis is talking about 68-year-old Jewel Brown from Cuba who was apparently alone in his car when the accident occurred on Charles Spur Road just outside Cuba. Portis and other residents from the area gathered to watch as investigators combed through what was left of the charred vehicle.

According to a preliminary investigation, it appears Mr. Brown lost control of the vehicle and got stuck in the soft mud on the side of the road. Investigators say there is evidence that he tried repeatedly to get out of the mud and while doing so the car ran hot and perhaps they say a bad leak of transmission fluid sparked the fire.

"According to some of the witnesses, Mr. Brown's car was leaking a lot of transmission fluid on Wednesday," says Sumter County Sheriff Johnny Hatter.

Sheriff Hatter says foul play is not suspected. Instead he says it appears to be an accident, which Brown unsuccessfully tried to escape.

"When he tried to get out of the side door, it looks like he got hung because he was kind of crippled. He was on a walker."

Crippled after having one of his feet amputated due to diabetes. While investigators say Brown was last seen around noon Wednesday, they say the charred vehicle was found around 5:30 Thursday morning by a logger going to work.

Because of the rather remote location and lack of traffic, investigators say it's still unknown exactly when the accident occurred.

Brown was single and did not have children.