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South Carolina Lawmaker Proposes Banning Police Trucks on Beaches After Fatal Accident

Beach patrol vehicles illustration.

South Carolina Lawmaker Seeks to Ban Police Trucks from Beaches Following Fatal Incident

In South Carolina, tragedy unfolded earlier this month after a 66-year-old woman, identified as Sandy Schultz-Peters, was fatally struck by a patrol truck on Myrtle Beach. The incident, which is now under investigation by the South Carolina Highway Patrol and the Horry County Police Department (HCPD), has prompted a local lawmaker to advocate for legislative action banning trucks from South Carolina’s beaches unless it’s for emergencies.

Incident Details

According to reports, on June 13, a seasoned officer aboard a Ford Ranger inadvertently ran over Schultz-Peters, a local nurse who was enjoying the beach around 1 p.m. The vehicle, entering the beach from the Nash Street access, hit Schultz-Peters from the front, pinning her under the front passenger side tire. Despite concerted efforts by the officer and two paramedics who were on the scene, Schultz-Peters eventually succumbed to her injuries at a nearby hospital.

Regrettably, this tragic incident is not an isolated one, with previous reports suggesting similar accidents in Horry County. The common thread in these unfortunate events seems to focus on police trucks’ large blind spots at the front, leading to calls for their prohibition on the beach.

Legislative Response

State Rep. William Bailey, who previously served as the public safety director of North Myrtle Beach, has voiced concerns over these accidents. Having noted the increasing number of people on South Carolina’s beaches and the heightened risk this poses when combined with police trucks patrolling the area, Bailey is pushing for legislation to address the issue.

“At the end of the day, it’s indefensible to tell me that you need to have a full-size truck down there when you have people lying on towels,” stated Bailey. He went on to express a preference for smaller, more maneuverable all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) to be used for patrols instead. These vehicles, he argued, can effectively carry similar types of equipment as trucks without posing the same risk.

Backing for Patrol Changes

Other lawmakers seem open to the potential changes proposed by Bailey. State Rep. Tim McGinnis reportedly stated that he would support such legislation if public safety officials demonstrated its necessity.

Following the recent incident, the Horry County Police Department informed the public of their decrease in truck usage on beaches and a corresponding increase in foot and ATV patrols. Despite these changes, the Department maintained that trucks remained vital for servicing certain emergency calls due to their capacity to carry necessary equipment and transport community members when needed.

Looking Forward

The proposed legislation, if passed, would be a significant step towards improving beach safety in South Carolina. As beachgoers begin to pack the sands in larger numbers, the need for effective yet risk-minimizing patrol methods could not be clearer. Lawmakers and law enforcement agencies alike will need to find the delicate balance between public safety, community welfare, and efficient crime prevention.

South Carolina Lawmaker Proposes Banning Police Trucks on Beaches After Fatal Accident Spartanburg SC

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