SC woman beats cancer twice, then dies in car crash

Estelle Wood - WSPA photo

ANDERSON, SC – A day after her last round of chemotherapy, an Anderson County woman was killed in a car crash.

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A trash truck hit Estelle Josephine Wood’s car on the driver side in the intersection of S.C. 24 and Whitehall Road around noon on March 10.

“Miss Jo”, as everyone called her, was taken to AnMed hospital where she died.

WSPA’s coverage partners at the Anderson Independent Mail first reported the story of “Miss Jo”.

The mother of five became like a mother to the community. Driving down S.C. 24, a sign stands reading “RIP Ms. Jo.”

“The room would just light up when she walked in,” said Guy Wootton, Wood’s youngest son.

Wood gave thousands to charities like the American Cancer Society, a local domestic violence shelter, the Moose Lodge, and a youth camp she helped create at her church in California, where she lived before moving to Anderson County.

She and her late husband first bought their property on Lake Hartwell as a summer home while they were living in New Jersey, but soon after, they made it their permanent home. She then convinced four of her five children to move, too. The whole family lives nearby.

The day she died, she was on her way to get her last shot officially ending her chemotherapy treatments. This was her second time beating the disease and being cancer free.

“We thought she had it beat because my mother was so invincible,” said Tammy Wootton, Wood’s daughter.

Before she left, she made Guy breakfast.

“She got me set up at the table about five to 12, and she said well it’s time for me to go, and I said ‘I love you mom,’” Guy Wootton said. “She said ‘I love you too’, and on her way out the door, she said ‘I love all my babies.’”

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It was the last time he talked to her before he got a call from the hospital.

“You have to pass the scene of the accident, and my brother and I saw her car, and our hearts sank,” Wootton said.

He says they expected the worst.

“We both drove to the emergency room praying for a miracle, but we both knew that’s what it was going to take,” Wootton said.

Moments after Wootton said his final goodbye, his terrible day got even worse when he stopped to get the information off of the trash truck on his way home. He saw the driver responsible for the crash and confronted him.

“At that point, I just lost it,” Wootton said. “I hit him. I hit him several times until the police pulled me off of him.”

An action that landed him in the Anderson County Detention Center for a few hours, charged with third-degree assault and battery. He regrets his actions, especially since it pulled him away from his family during such a difficult time. His family says they wish he didn’t spend that time alone.

“God was ready,” Wootton said. “We weren’t ready. I wasn’t done with her yet.”

But together they’re coping and forgiving.

“Things happen,” Wootton said. “This man didn’t set out to do this…Nobody wishes this man any ill.”

The driver of the trash truck was cited with a failure to stop at a red signal.

Funeral services for Wood will be held on Friday.