CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – While the South Carolina Highway Patrol MAIT Team continues its investigation into the July 2020 crash that killed a tow truck driver and seriously injured a deputy, family members say they do not expect SCHP to file serious charges in the case.
Charleston County Deputy Mike Costanzo and tow truck driver William Ellis were assisting the driver of a disabled vehicle the morning of July 1st, when a pick-up truck driver pulling a trailer slammed into the back of both the deputy’s cruiser and the tow truck.
The crash sent Ellis over the side of the Don Holt Bridge and seriously injured Deputy Costanzo. After a multi-agency search, the body of William Ellis was found in the waterway a day later.
In August of last year, News 2 learned the Estate of William Ellis Jr., had filed a wrongful death lawsuit against parties involved in the crash. The suit claiming that the driver of the disabled vehicle, Peter Katzburg, “was negligent in failing to exercise due care.”
It also claimed the truck driver, Dale Phillips, was grossly negligent and reckless in his actions that day. The suit – at the time – stated the Estate was seeking actual damages, general damages, and punitive damages.
Highway Patrol was also named in the lawsuit.
But in an update this week, family members connected to the case tell News 2 they believe Highway Patrol investigators have concluded that no serious charges will be filed regarding the crash.
News 2 has reached out to the South Carolina Highway Patrol for more information. We expect their final report will be released soon.
Deputy Costanzo is still undergoing rehabilitation for injuries he sustained in the crash.