Deputy involved in deadly wreck still on paid administrative leave; family calling for transparency
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - It has been 17 days since three women, a mother and her two daughters, died in a collision with a Charleston County Sheriff’s Office deputy.
At 11p.m. on Mother’s Day, 53-year-old Stephanie Dantzler, 28-year-old Shanice Dantzler-Williams, and 22-year-old Miranda Dantzler-Williams were on Highway 17 in Ravenel, when deputy Emily Pelletier hit their car while responding to a disabled vehicle in the area.
It is not believed her lights were activated at the time, according to Sheriff Kristin Graziano.
All three died in the collision.
“We don’t know what’s going on,” Eric Dantzler, brother of Stephanie Dantzler, said. “It hurts me and then when I leave my mom’s house and I asked my mom. Does she want me to bring anything back before I leave town. And she tells me if you could bring them three back. You know, I don’t need nothing else.”
Sheriff Graziano two weeks ago confirmed that Pelletier was placed on paid administrative leave after the incident.
As of Wednesday, her status has not changed according to the sheriff’s office.
“We know this sheriff’s deputy is not sick. She’s getting paid time off. So she must be on vacation for killing three black women, somebody make it make sense,” Pastor Thomas Dixon said. “They’ve spent money here and paid taxes ... so in essence right now as she’s on paid administrative leave, this family who has lost their loved ones are paying for her vacation.”
The Dantzler family is represented by lawyers Rep. Marvin Pendarvis and Clifford Bush.
Bush says he’s only been able to gather an incident report from the May 8 incident, but not the accident report. The lack of evidence provided, he says, has made it difficult to create a case.
“I’ve done this over 20 years. It doesn’t take this long to get an FR-10 form to tell us who contributed to the collision,” Bush said.
Advocates were quick to point to other incidents regarding the sheriff where they feel transparency was an uphill battle.
“This sheriff has continued to fail us, continued,” Elvin Speights said. “When she got elected, she promised us she was going to be transparent. Jamal Sutherland was killed on her first day on the job. That video wasn’t released for months later, months...That was just last year and look at us now, back here again. Back here again for another family who’s just asking for the transparency that she promised she was going to give us in the situation. This is not rocket science.”
Their family wants answers and justice.
“What we demand is that sheriff’s deputy Emily Pelletier be terminated immediately, charged immediately and arrested immediately. Because if this was anybody else, if this was me. I would have been terminated. I’d have been charged. And I’d have been arrested. Probably about 17 days ago,” Dixon said.
Officials with the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office say the report on the traffic collision is being handled by the Highway Patrol.
In addition, regarding the video of the incident, the sheriff’s office continues to say they will eventually make it public. Sheriff Graziano made that promise at a press conference two weeks ago.
“As soon as it’s available to us following the external effort to retrieve the footage, we will make it available to the public,” said CCSO Public Information Officer Andrew Knapp.
Live 5 News has reached also reached out Highway Patrol comment.
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