WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - A West Ashley man is out on bond tonight, after police reported he drove drunk through the Charleston 9 Firefighter Memorial causing thousands of dollars in damage.
The park is known as sacred ground, where friends and loved ones can remember the firefighters killed in the Sofa Superstore fire in 2007. Those close to the Charleston 9 told Live5 they will not let this incident define their memorial.
"My son was awesome. He loved his job as a firefighter," Charleston 9 mother Ann Mulkey said. Captain Louis Mulkey is one of the nine firefighters who died in the 2007 fire. She said the man responsible for all the damage needs to be held accountable. "You do the crime, you should pay the fine."
"It's a tragedy. Obviously, we don't know what caused the young man to do it, alcohol or whatever it was," Lowcountry Firefighters Unit executive direct Gerald Mishoe said.
Police arrested 38-year old Daniel Doherty for a DUI. According to Charleston police, Doherty drove drunk Thursday night through the Charleston 9 memorial. The accident caused a total of $26,000 in damage.
"He did some considerable damage to the fence and the shrubs," Mishoe said. "Thankfully, he missed all the markers. He didn't touch any of the markers or the flagpole, that's what we hold closest to our hearts."
"I just thank God that it wasn't any worse," Mulkey added.
City of Charleston workers were quick to respond.
"My hats off to the city for being out here so quickly," Mishoe said. "They've been out here pulling up bushes and cleaning up the benches and I have a lot of faith that they'll get it up and running again very shortly. We the families, the firefighters, we consider this to be sacred ground. It's been desecrated but we're going to come back. We're strong folks and this community is very strong behind the Charleston 9 and their memory, we will never forget them."
"You don't mess with the fireman and policeman and you don't mess with the Charleston 9 spot," Mulkey said.