CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) – 58-year-old Nathaniel Rhodes died four days after an accident on US-17 and Coming St. in August of 2018. Following the accident, Rhodes was taken to Charleston Police Department headquarters instead of the hospital. He was eventually taken to the hospital after falling in police custody but the Rhodes’ family says his life could have been spared had he recieved immediate medical treatment. Investigators later learned Rhodes suffered eight broken ribs and a ruptured liver in the accident.
On Monday, the Rhodes family spoke out alleging misconduct on behalf of the Charleston Police Department.
Following the crash, they say Rhodes was placed on a stretcher to be transported to the hospital, but officers signed a ‘refusal to transport’ so they could instead conduct a sobriety test after finding an open container in his vehicle.
Rhodes was taken to the police station where he complained of severe pain. He then collapsed and was taken to the hospital where he died four days later.
Charleston Police Chief, Luther Reynolds immediately referred the investigation to SLED to make sure officers followed protocol.
In a news release, Chief Reynolds said, “The loss of life is always tragic and must be taken very seriously. I have requested that SLED conduct a thorough investigation into this matter. The Charleston Police Department is committed to protecting and serving the people of our city, while always being transparent and accountable for our actions in the process.”
Officers say they were unaware that Rhodes was suffering from eight broken ribs, internal injuries, and a ruptured liver.
His family believes toxins were flowing through his bloodstream during the sobriety test.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is investigating how the Charleston Police Department handled the case.
The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office is investigating Charleston County EMS’ role in the incident.