Lawyers: Lawsuit prepared; calling on sheriff’s office to “restore public trust” after deadly deputy-involved crash
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The ninth circuit solicitor met with the families of a mother and two daughters killed in a crash about the pending criminal case against a former Charleston County Sheriff’s Office deputy.
Attorney Marvin Pendarvis called it a “productive” meeting with Solicitor Scarlett Wilson on Thursday, but he had a message for the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, which has received several criticisms from the families in the wake of the deadly Mother’s Day crash.
He says that the Dantzler-Williams family, who lost a mother and two daughters after they collided with deputy Emily Pelletier, has not heard much from the sheriff’s office since early June.
A statement from Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Amber Allen reads:
The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office has been in regular contact with the family’s attorneys. We have not received any request from the attorneys or the family to meet and discuss any potential improvements our agency can make. We believe, at this time, it is best that we maintain appropriate communication through legal representation until the matter is resolved.
Pendarvis says that they have prepared a lawsuit but have not filed it.
“Now, we are certainly ready to begin litigation. But that only brings a long ugly war of words keeping painful and inescapable facts alive,” Pendarvis said. “Facts filled with anger, facts filled with grief. In fact, that will only further divide a community. So on behalf of the family, we make the same simple requests for the sheriff’s office. To do what’s right to do what’s just.”
A timeline was not given as to when this lawsuit would be filed if it would be at all.
They are hoping to restore the lines of communication.
“This is an opportunity for the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office to step forward, and take responsibility and if they choose to not step forward, then the next steps are logical,” Richard Hricik said.
“The sheriff’s office has had more than enough time to reflect on these unspeakable harms, these known facts,” Pendarvis said. “What it can do, what it should do and what it will do to make amends and restore public trust that has so badly been broken.”
Pendarvis argues there are no undisputed facts in the case, citing both the South Carolina Highway Patrol and sheriff’s office internal investigations.
Pelletier was scheduled to appear in court on Friday, July 29, but her lawyer has confirmed she has been excused as is common practice when an attorney files a notice of appearance.
Victims identified, deputy charged
53-year-old Stephanie Dantzler and her daughters, 28-year-old Shanice Dantzler-Williams and 22-year-old Miranda Dantzler-Williams, all from Colleton County, died at the scene of the crash on Savannah Highway back in May.
Almost a month later, troopers with the South Carolina Highway Patrol announced the deputy involved in that crash would be facing charges. Emily Pelletier, 24, faces three counts of reckless homicide.
A report estimated Pelletier was driving 81 mph seconds before the crash and had slowed to 73 mph at the time of impact. The speed limit on New Road is 45 mph.
Pelletier had not activated emergency equipment in her patrol vehicle when she collided with the vehicle, according to troopers.
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