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Columbia police cite Benjamin, Rubens in April 21 wreck - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Columbia police cite Benjamin, Rubens in April 21 wreck

Mayor-elect Benjamin Mayor-elect Benjamin
Rubens Rubens
Surveillance video appears to show Benjamin's SUV at the corner of Park and Gervais Surveillance video appears to show Benjamin's SUV at the corner of Park and Gervais
April 21 accident scene at Gervais and Pickens April 21 accident scene at Gervais and Pickens

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Columbia Police Department's Traffic Safety Unit has completed its investigation of a two vehicle collision involving Mayor-elect Steve Benjamin. 

The department has issued two citations. One citation was issued to Deborah Rubens for operating an uninsured vehicle. The other citation was issued to Mr. Benjamin for operating a vehicle without headlights which, police say, contributed to the collision.

The wreck happened just hours after Benjamin was elected mayor of the city of Columbia.  Benjamin's SUV collided with Rubens' car near Gervais and Pickens streets in downtown Columbia around 5:40am April 21.

The wreck left Rubens fighting for her life with a severe head injury and multiple broken bones.  She is still in the hospital.

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety is reviewing the investigation, but has not released its report to the Columbia Police Department yet. 

The wreck led to a confrontation between then-Police Chief Tandy Carter and city leaders after Carter refused to turn the investigation over to the state Highway Patrol. Carter ended up getting fired and filing a grievance.

Benjamin has made no comment about the accident, and has tried to remain focused on his agenda as mayor. Tuesday he met for the first time with the chairs of his transition team and committees set up to address community issues.   

Benjamin met with the four transition team co-chairs and the chairs of eight committees who will focus on issues important to the city.

"Over the course of the next month, we're going to get out across the city on the One Columbia listening tour," Benjamin told the team. "Community meetings around the city, and then we're going to begin a very aggressive visioning and strategic planning process. I just want to encourage all Columbians to get involved and help shape this city."

The team includes former Mayor pro tempore Luther Battiste, Midlands Technical College Board of Trustees Chairman Robert Dozier, entrepreneur Barbara Rackes and community activist Bessie Watson.

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