Sheriff: Deputy ran stop sign in deadly crash that killed mother, daughters
GREEN POND, S.C. (WCSC/Gray News) - A South Carolina sheriff said an internal investigation into a May 8 deputy-involved crash that killed three women in Colleton County women is complete.
WCSC reports Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano said there was “no doubt” that Deputy Emily Pelletier contributed to the crash that killed 53-year-old Stephanie Dantzler and her daughters, 28-year-old Shanice Dantzler-Williams and 22-year-old Miranda Dantzler-Williams.
“There’s no doubt about the facts. I think we all agree on the facts,” Graziano said. “She ran a stop sign and collided with, hit the vehicle that was driven by Shanice. She struck the vehicle, there’s no doubt about that.”
Graziano held a news conference Tuesday afternoon outside the family’s Green Pond home in Colleton County. She said she expects charges to be filed against Pelletier.
“I know charges are forthcoming. I just don’t know what they are,” she said.
The crash happened when the deputy responding to assist a driver whose vehicle had become disabled collided with the vehicle driven by Dantzler-Williams.
Pelletier was taken to an area hospital and later released. She was placed on administrative leave with pay as the sheriff’s office reviews the incident, which is standard for serious deputy-involved collisions.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Pelletier remained on administrative leave.
Graziano said she learned the South Carolina Highway Patrol recently completed its investigation into the crash and is compiling its final reports, but she said it troubled her when she saw the accident report which did not implicitly state that the Dantzler family was not to blame for the crash.
“We knew that hours after the accident, and it bothered me, and it troubled me a little bit that that information was not relayed on the piece of paper,” she said.
The sheriff also said the family did not get that information until two weeks after the crash.
“I also believe that speed was a contributing factor,” she said. “I don’t know the exact speed yet. We don’t have that information, but I know that it, based on what we saw, and I think we all agree on speed was a factor in this particular incident. These facts are undisputed, there’s absolutely no question about that. That has not changed.”
She said the sheriff’s office’s internal investigation is also complete, but she is waiting to receive the highway patrol’s findings before making “decisions and determinations on personnel regarding that collision.”
She said she has met with “every uniform” that drives a vehicle in Charleston County since the crash.
“Our hearts are broken as well for this family because they don’t deserve to be standing here,” Graziano said. “And you know, we are saddened by this, we absolutely are. I can’t change the facts. I can’t change the outcome, unfortunately. I wish I could say something, I absolutely wish I could, but when we’re responding to calls, we have a duty to uphold the law and to get where we need to go safely as possible when you call 911.”
Graziano said her agency’s protocols require, regardless of whether lights and sirens are activated, that her officers still must use due care.
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