Fellow Journalists, Friends, Local Leaders Shocked, Saddened by Deaths of WYFF Employees
May 29, 2018 10:36AM
By Chris Haire
The two respected journalists died on assignment in Polk County, N.C. when their SUV was struck by a falling tree.
The tragic news shocked and saddened local members of the media, as well as their Fourth Estate comrades across the country. The pair were also honored by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, state Attorney General Alan Wilson, Greenville Mayor Knox White, and S.C. Highway Patrol Trooper Bill Rhyne, aka Trooper Bill.
“Mike and Aaron were stellar journalists, dedicated to covering news in this market,” remarked John Humphries WYFF 4 President and General Manager. “They were beloved members of our newsroom, and we will miss them tremendously. Today is a difficult day, and there will be many more ahead.”
“All of us at WYFF 4 are grieving,” said News Director Bruce Barkley. “We thank you for your comfort as we mourn. We ask that you keep Mike and Aaron's families in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”
In a press release, WYFF noted the following: Mike is originally from Florida and started at WYFF 4 in 2007 as a reporter in our Spartanburg newsroom. In 2014, he was named weekend anchor of WYFF News 4 at 6 and 11pm. When Mike was not reporting or anchoring the news, you would find him in the kitchen. He loved using local, fresh ingredients from the Hub City Farmers' Market. Aaron started at WYFF 4 earlier this year as a photojournalist in our Spartanburg bureau. Originally from Tazewell, Va, he’s been covering news in our area for more than a decade. He was an avid baseball fan and loved traditional country music.
WYFF News 4 anchor Mike McCormick and WYFF News 4 photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer died Monday when a tree fell on their SUV. https://t.co/VZZKA6K6qq All of us at WYFF News 4 are grieving. We are a family. pic.twitter.com/IQmZ6prUIH— WYFF News 4 (@wyffnews4) May 28, 2018
Over the last decade as a PIO, I have had the pleasure of doing more interviews with Mike McCormick than I can count. We became friends both professionally and personally and he will be greatly missed. Prayers for Mike and Aaron's families and their extended family @wyffnews4— Trooper Bill SCHP (@SCHP_Troop3) May 28, 2018
They were sweet friends. They were talented colleagues. Now they are gone... far too soon. Praying for all who loved Aaron Smeltzer and Mike McCormick 💔💔💔💔— Amy Wood 7 News (@TVAmy) May 28, 2018
WYFF news crew dies after tree falls on vehicle in Polk Co. https://t.co/Qbbb7ndOno
Terrible news from WYFF, the NBC station in Greenville, SC: Photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer and anchor Mike McCormick were out covering a storm today when a tree crushed their news van. Both men were killed. https://t.co/x9d9iXFVah— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) May 28, 2018
I’m stunned by the death Mike McCormick. We went to UM together and were writers at @wsvn. Our business was better because of Mike. He loved journalism and wanted to make sure all sides were treated fairly and the facts came to light. @wyffnews4 https://t.co/fHZvkfRrjy— Alex DiPrato (@AlexDiPrato) May 28, 2018
Truly saddened by the tragic loss of Mike McCormick and Aaron Smeltzer of WYFF4. Both consummate professionals who made our community better. Our prayers are with their families and all at WYFF, @wyffnews4— Knox White (@MayorKnoxWhite) May 29, 2018
As someone in the media, I can’t even imagine going out to an event for my station and not coming home. My heart sank when I heard the news. WYFF News 4's Mike McCormick... https://t.co/T2Q3keZ4Kp— Shorty on B93.7! (@RadioShorty) May 28, 2018
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of WYFF’s Mike McCormick and Aaron Smeltzer. Mike was a regular visitor to Spartanburg Two and always brought lots of excitement and smiles to our schools when he came out to do a story. https://t.co/CstssO51AR pic.twitter.com/JD5vRE94QO— Spartanburg Dist Two (@SpartanburgD2) May 29, 2018
Devastated to hear of the tragic accident resulting in the deaths of Mike McCormick and Aaron Smeltzer. Both were true professionals.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) May 29, 2018
Our prayers are with their families, friends, and the entire staff at @wyffnews4.https://t.co/ExMnAaZCLf
The Weather Channel family sends its deepest condolences to the families, friends, and coworkers of WYFF Anchor Mike McCormick and Photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer.— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) May 29, 2018
Two South Carolina TV journalists were killed covering severe weather yesterday.— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) May 29, 2018
WYFF anchor Mike McCormick and photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer died when a tree fell on their SUV. They had both worked in the Greenville area for more than a decade. https://t.co/TUtyYCBZfA pic.twitter.com/SbsbVKm2gT
We grieve with our friends and neighbors @wyffnews4 over the deaths of Mike McCormick and Aaron Smeltzer. The reporter and photographer were killed in NC when a tree fell on their SUV. Please join us in remembering their families and all the heartbroken folks at the station. pic.twitter.com/fsNB4PiBFk— Country Ham House (@CountryHamHouse) May 29, 2018