Family of woman killed in officer-involved crash says charges are ‘blasphemy’
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A North Charleston Police officer was charged Friday in connection to a deadly July crash but the family of the victim says the charges are not severe enough.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol says Officer Jeremy Kraft was the “contributor” to a July 5 crash that left Raudnesia Waring, 24, dead at the intersection of Dorchester Road and Scarsdale Avenue.
Spann-Wilder Law, the law firm representing the Waring family, held a news conference at North Charleston City Hall on Friday asking for more answers from the city and Highway Patrol.
“We are calling on the solicitor, Scarlett Wilson, to further investigate and review additional video footage that we have and to look at officer Kraft’s history of multiple vehicle pursuits and violations, having been counseled about the same, wherein he has been he has been suspended, counseled, provided letters of instruction, as well as reprimanded,” Attorney Tiffany Spann-Wilder said.
Attorneys with the law firm say they looked through Kraft’s personnel file and found nine driving incidents and six accidents on his record. They say almost all of them were while he was still employed by North Charleston Police Department.
Spann-Wilder says the driving too fast for conditions charge is considered a magistrate municipal level offense that carries a maximum fine of a little over $200 and two points on his driving record.
Spann-Wilder says the Waring family calls this “blasphemy.”
“We feel confident that the solicitor’s office will conclude that the accurate and the most correct charge in this matter would be the charge officer craft with reckless homicide,” Spann-Wilder said. “And to concur with the families, Officer Kraft should not be able to return to the North Charleston Police Department as his history of accidents and violations in vehicle pursuits clearly reflect that he is not an officer fit for duty.”
Spann-Wilder says some examples of the nine driving incidents are backing into a pole, not dealing with other vehicles or motorists, etc.
When asked if the July crash is still under investigation, Spann-Wilder said they have repeatedly called Highway Patrol to ask for the report and filed a FOIA request the week after Waring’s death. They say they still have not received a response.
“We are asking Chief Burgess and the mayor’s office to truly look at this,” Spann-Wilder said. “We understand that there are multiple parts to this, but no matter what the solicitor’s office or Highway Patrol decides, they can make an impact right here at 2500 City Hall and not allow this officer to return to duty.”
North Charleston Police released a statement in response to the news conference and the Highway Patrol’s report:
“The City and Police Department remain deeply saddened by the death of Ms. Waring from a traffic accident involving an NCPD car. There is an established process to handle such matters. We understand the family has retained counsel and we will be working through that process in the weeks and months ahead.”
Right now, Kraft is still employed by the department but is not actively on duty.
Spann-Wilder says they are asking anyone who was at the scene of the crash to speak to them about what they saw that day. Click here to contact the Spann-Wilder law firm.
Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.