Charleston Co. deputy, sheriff face pair of lawsuits after deadly crash

Nearly two years after a Charleston County deputy hit two people in a fatal crash, the children are suing the deputy, along with Sheriff Kristin Graziano.
Published: Dec. 9, 2022 at 6:07 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 9, 2022 at 6:27 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Nearly two years after a Charleston County deputy hit two people in a fatal crash, the children of the two killed are suing the deputy, along with Sheriff Kristin Graziano and others, in a pair of new lawsuits.

On Jan. 3, 2021, 77-year-old Sandra Eisner and 85-year-old Sonny Brower died after Charleston County Deputy Alan Michael Kendall was responding to a call for service and hit Eisner’s car on U.S. Highway 17 near Beehive Road in Mount Pleasant, according to the lawsuits.

Todd Eisner and Debra O’Brien, as personal representatives and children of Eisner and Brower respectively, filed their nearly identical lawsuits in Charleston County with two different law firms Thursday and Friday.

The documents state the call Kendall was responding to was “completely benign” - a non-violent dispute between family members with no weapons and no one reportedly in danger. The suit goes on to state the deputy responded as a Code 3, an emergency call, while other deputies responded as a Code 1, a normal run.

Kendall was driving at 130 mph when he hit Eisner’s car on the busy highway, according to the complaint. Despite the nature of the call and other deputies responding as a Code 1, where deputies are required to follow all traffic laws, the suit goes on to say Kendall “weaved around heavy traffic” and between lanes during his Code 3 response, “punching his gas pedal to go even faster at every opportunity.”

The documents state the other deputies responding acknowledged Kendall’s Code 3 but never told him to change his response. Kendall’s negligence directly led to the Eisner’s and Brower’s death, according to the suits.

Eisner and Brower were pronounced dead on the scene. EMS took the deputy to an area hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

The attorneys are alleging negligence on behalf of Kendall and all other deputies involved, as well as wrongful death on all defendants listed in the suit, among other claims. Both Eisner and O’Brien are asking for an undetermined amount of money.

Eisner’s son says his mom had just moved to the area a few weeks prior to the crash to spend more time with her family, and the sheriff’s office took that away from her.

Andrew Knapp with the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office says Deputy Kendall was previously cited by the Highway Patrol for driving too fast for conditions.  Kendall is still employed at the office as a deputy sheriff and was medically cleared to return to duty May 28, 2021, according to Knapp. Kendall has been with the office since 2016, according to training records from the Criminal Justice Academy.

The sheriff’s office says it extends their sincere condolences to the families involved.

Charleston County tells us it can’t comment on pending litigation.