YORK COUNTY, S.C. (WBTV) - The York County community is mourning the loss of one of its greats after troopers say the chief bailiff at the Moss Justice Center was killed when a truck crossed the center line and hit his SUV head-on early Thursday.
Charles Dunlap, known affectionately as “Doodie”, was on his was to work early Thursday on Highway 5 when the accident happened. The 77-year-old’s colleagues were stunned to learn the news.
“Our bailiffs were already looking for him because he’s always here early so they knew something was wrong -it was just devastating,” said Chief Deputy Clerk of Court Angie Smarr. “We comforted each other as best we could. There were a lot of tears, there were a lot of stories being told, a lot of laughs because Doodie made us all feel very good, and he still does - he’ll always be here.”
It was almost as if you could sense Doodie Dunlap’s infectious presence at the courthouse Friday as colleagues remembered his 50 years of public service.
“I could say, ‘order in the court,’ and no one would listen,’” said Kevin Austin, a bailiff at the courthouse. “Doodie said, ‘order,’ and everybody stopped right away - it was amazing.”
Dunlap’s team of bailiffs adored their friend and chief who they say always managed to keep order from his chair in the back of the courtroom.
“There’s not a single person in this building that you could talk to you about Doodie that wouldn’t say they didn’t love him,” added Austin.
Doodie served as the chief bailiff for nearly a decade. He spent his entire life in public service joining the sheriff’s department as a deputy in 1973, and working as a firefighter in Rock Hill before that.
“This was his life,” said Smarr. “He loved being here daily, he loved his fellow bailiffs, he loved the Clerk of Court staff, he loves the Sheriff’s Department, and he loves the citizens of York County.”
Which is why when the people of York County learned Doodie had died on his way to work to do the job he loved so much, they were heartbroken. While they’re still reeling from his death, Friday they also remembered the good times. Fellow Bailiff Charlie Boyd said the two loved to fish together.
“This was a bass,” said Boyd showing a picture of a fish Doodie caught recently on one of their outings. “He was tickled to death. He was seeing about having that thing mounted.”
Boyd insists Doodie was great at not only reeling in fish, but also people.
“He never met a stranger,” said Boyd. “He was always kind to everybody.”
And that’s what Doodie Dunlap’s colleagues say they will remember most.
“He was a very devoted Christian, he was a devoted dad, he was a devoted grandpa,” said Smarr. “He cared so much for everybody, and he believed in the judicial system. He believed in the sheriff’s department and he believed in all of us.”
Funeral arrangements for Charles “Doodie” Dunlap have not yet been announced.