Beau­fort EMS driver was on duty 22 hours be­fore deadly crash

The Island Packet - - Front Page - BY STEPHEN FASTENAU sfas­te­[email protected]­land­packet.com

A Beau­fort County para­medic driv­ing the SUV that slammed into a pickup truck car­ry­ing a fam­ily of six last month, killing a 42-year-old mother, had been on duty 22 hours, a county of­fi­cial said Wed­nes­day.

The para­medic was driv­ing a 2018 Chevro­let Sub­ur­ban EMS su­per­vi­sor’s ve­hi­cle when it crashed into the rear of a Dodge pickup truck stopped at a traf­fic light at Trask Park­way and Bruce K. Smalls Drive just be­fore 6 a.m. on Nov. 17, ac­cord­ing to the S.C. High­way Pa­trol. Stacey Dyer, an Ohio na­tive and Port Royal res­i­dent, was a pas­sen­ger in the pickup truck car­ry­ing the fam­ily out of town for Thanks­giv­ing and died two days after the crash.

The EMS of­fi­cial was re­spond­ing to a call when the crash oc­curred and had been on duty since 8 a.m. the pre­vi­ous day, county at­tor­ney Tom Keav­eny said Wed­nes­day. Such shifts can be typ­i­cal for paramedics and in­clude time to rest when not re­spond­ing to calls.

A High­way Pa­trol team is still in­ves­ti­gat­ing the crash, and no find­ings have been re­leased, an agency spokesman said Tues­day. No charges have been filed

re­lated to the crash.

An at­tor­ney for the Dyer fam­ily is con­duct­ing a sep­a­rate in­ves­ti­ga­tion while await­ing the agency’s find­ings in prepa­ra­tion for a law­suit, said Ta­bor Vaux, the Bluffton at­tor­ney who has been re­tained by the fam­ily. Vaux is also a County Coun­cil mem­ber whose term ex­pires this month.

Keav­eny con­firmed the county had been no­ti­fied of a pos­si­ble law­suit.

Vaux de­clined to com­ment on the firm’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion or on in­juries to other fam­ily mem­bers.

“Ob­vi­ously it’s turned their lives up­side down,” he said. “They are deal­ing with the tragedy the best they can and try­ing to cope with the loss of Stacey, tak­ing it hour by hour, day by day.”

Dyer’s 8-year-old daugh­ter, Sophia, was flown to Sa­van­nah and ad­mit­ted to in­ten­sive care but re­turned home last week, a fam­ily friend said.

Dyer’s 6-year-old son, Dax, was un­hurt in the crash, and her 18-year-old daugh­ter, Lexi, was off crutches last week after her leg was in­jured in the crash, Dyer’s friend, Latesha McCo­mas, said last week.

Keav­eny said the EMS driver had not re­turned to work and de­clined to pro­vide his con­di­tion, cit­ing fed­eral pa­tient pri­vacy laws.

The Beau­fort Gazette and The Is­land Packet are not iden­ti­fy­ing the driver of the EMS ve­hi­cle be­cause he has not been charged in the crash or named in a court fil­ing.

The re­sponse from Keav­eny on Wed­nes­day is the first in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by the county since the crash. Four phone calls and an email sent to county EMS Di­rec­tor Donna Ownby seek­ing com­ment since the crash have not been re­turned.

More than $19,000 has been raised for the fam­ily in an on­line fundraiser.

A fu­neral ser­vice for Dyer was held Satur­day. Dur­ing a Face­book cam­paign dur­ing the week of Thanks­giv­ing, com­mu­nity mem­bers re­ported acts of kind­ness done in her mem­ory.

LATESHA MCCO­MAS Sub­mit­ted

Stacey Dyer, right, poses with friend Latesha McCo­mas on a trip to Myr­tle Beach in 2017. Dyer died after a car crash Nov. 17.

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