Danny Hogg, a former organized crime strongman who became a key witness in a notorious 1970s murder case, died Tuesday after he was struck by a truck along Interstate 26, authorities said.
Hogg, 63, was infamous in his younger days for his role as a reputed henchman for the Dixie Mafia criminal enterprise. Later, he was a star witness for the government, and his testimony helped send two of his cohorts to prison for the October 1978 killing of Ricky Seagraves in Charleston County.
Hogg was said to have turned his life around since that time and become a loving family man. Most recently, he had been working as a tow-truck driver with Davis Towing of Summerville.
The Highway Patrol said Hogg was on the job, placing a disabled vehicle onto a wrecker, when a passing box truck clipped him at around 3:45 p.m. It happened along the eastbound lanes of the freeway near Interstate 95 and the town of St. George.
Hogg was airlifted to Medical University Hospital, where he died from his injuries, Highway Patrol Cpl. Paul Brouthers said.
The box truck driver, Norman Eugene Fogle II, 46, of Neeses in Orangeburg County, was cited for driving too fast for conditions, Brouthers said. Fogle had been delivering computers from Columbia to Charleston. No special driver's license is required to drive the moving truck.
As a young man, Hogg was an accomplished Golden Gloves boxer, a natural in the ring. He later put those fists to work as a bouncer, a local heavy. He was thrust into the public spotlight after Seagraves was abducted from a Ladson convenience store, shot and buried in a shallow grave in West Ashley.
Hogg, who participated in the kidnapping, received immunity in return for testifying against former club owner Paul Mazzell and Edward Merriman. He testified that Mazzell wanted Seagraves killed because Seagraves had robbed one of Mazzell's drug dealers. Mazzell and Merriman were convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Merriman died behind bars. Mazzell was paroled in 2005 after 23 years in prison.
Mazzell, who has long maintained that Hogg killed Seagraves, said Wednesday that he is still bitter with the justice system for sending him away, but he harbored no grudge against Hogg for turning state's witness.
Richard Stoney, a former prosecutor who tried Mazzell's case, said he is confident that the right people went to prison. "Some times you have to cut a deal with the devil to get one of the devils," he said.