CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A lawsuit was filed Monday morning against a former Charleston County deputy and the sheriff’s office over a Mother’s Day crash that claimed the lives of a woman and her two daughters.
Stephanie Dantzler and her daughters Shanice Dantzler-Williams and Miranda Dantzler-Williams were traveling on Highway 17 the night of May 8, 2022, when their vehicle was struck by Deputy Emily Pelletier while she was responding to a call.
All three of the women died at the scene. Pelletier was later charged with three counts of reckless homicide by motor vehicle and terminated from the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office for policy violations.
Charleston County Sheriff Kristian Graziano said Pelletier did not have her lights or siren on at the time of the crash. She was coming from New Road onto Highway 17 when she struck the victim’s vehicle at a high rate of speed.
Pelletier is named along with Deputy Clinton Sacks, the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, and Charleston County.
Attorneys representing the Dantzler-Williams family and estate say that while an investigation into the crash determined Deputy Pelletier’s dangerous driving was the sole cause of their deaths, they believe the investigation “was not complete at best.”
“Today’s lawsuit and the tremendous work done by my office and those of my co-counsel show that this was not an isolated incident of one deputy on a rural road,” said attorneys.
Attorneys allege that GPS data obtained from deputy vehicles the night of that crash show how two Charleston County deputies “traveling at outrageous and dangerous speeds” for more than 15 minutes contributed to the crash.
“The GPS data from that night further shows Deputy Pelletier deviated from the turn-by-turn driving directions from Dispatch when she ended up on New Road going through a stop sign at 82 mph and killing these three women. Her training records showed that she had great difficulty with geography but was approved and promoted to duty without re-training or follow-up. Thereafter, in the months that followed, her pre-crash GPS data showed she engaged in over 100 deviations from the turn-by-turn instructions from Dispatch in responding to Incidents – repeating mistakes and deficiencies demonstrated in training,” attorneys said.
Attorneys now call for accountability for the deputies involved, but also for the sheriff’s office to bring forward “meaningful change in their training and supervision of all deputies” to prevent further crashes.
News 2 has reached out to the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office and Charleston County for comment. As a practice, neither the county nor the sheriff’s office comment on ongoing litigation.