Two killed in separate accidents
One month ago today, Zest restaurant was one of 10 businesses destroyed by fire on Front Street.
On Thursday, the restaurant’s sushi chef – and soon-to-be business partner- was killed when the motorcycle he was driving collided with a vehicle at the intersection of Highway 17 and Sandy Island Road in Pawleys Island.
Coroner Kenny Johnson says 28-year-old Christopher Kirwin of Myrtle Beach died at Waccamaw Hospital at 7:48 a.m. Thursday.
“Cause of death was due to internal injuries sustained in accident,” stated Johnson
Johnson said Kirwin was southbound on Highway 17 when a car pulled into his path from Sandy Island Road.
The crash is still under investigation by the Highway Patrol.
John Cranston, co-owner of Zest and the soon-to-open 700 Modern Grill and Bar, said he has known Kirwin for many years.
“I knew him from when he was at Filets in Myrtle Beach,” Cranston said. “We were going to make him a partner in the business. He was a great chef and a great all around person.”
He said being a sushi chef is different from other chefs so Kirwin got to know the customers.
“He was a hard worker who loved what he did,” Cranston said. “He took a lot of pride in the food he put out.”
Cathy Cameron, a Zest employee, described Kirwin as “a jack of all trades.” She said he was a “sushi artist” and a “genius in many areas.”
She said on the day of the fire, it was Kirwin who urged the Zest owners to quickly find a new building. That same morning they had secured the new location.
Kathy McWilliams said she recently moved back to the area after spending years in San Francisco.
“His was the most artistic sushi I ever had. He blew China Town away,” she said.
Kirwin was a graduate of North Myrtle Beach High School and had attended The Culinary Institute of America in NYC, according to his Facebook page.
He graduated from Horry-Georgetown Technical College in 2008 with an associate’s degree in Culinary Arts.
Pawleys man killed
by hit and run driver; suspect arrested
Kirwin was the second person to be killed as a result of a Waccamaw Neck accident this week. A Pawleys Island man died Wednesday, one day after being struck by a hit and run driver.
John Thomas Clarke, 27, of 581 Blue Stem Drive in Pawleys Island, has been charged with leaving the scene of an accident with bodily injury.
Patrick Loper, 57, of Geney Lane died at 11:47 a.m. Wednesday. Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Sonny Collins said around 11 p.m. Tuesday Loper was on a moped and was involved in an accident.
He was in the roadway because of that accident and was struck by a vehicle. It was that driver who fled the area.
Collins said based on debris left at the scene, the driver may have been driving a Honda Civic. It may have been a model from 2006-2011, Collins said. Possibly a four-door vehicle.
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