Update: 8:50 a.m., June 8
Charleston County sheriff’s deputy Emily Pelletier was charged with three counts reckless homicide after colliding with a family’s car on Mother’s Day, killing a mother and her two children.
Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano and members of the Dantzler-Williams and Simmons families, along with legal counsel, on Tuesday discussed the now-concluded investigation into the incident.
“The past few weeks I’ve met with every uniform that drives a vehicle in Charleston County, and it’s unfortunate we have to keep having these discussions,” Graziano said at a press conference. “Our hearts are broken for this family, because they don’t deserve to be standing here.”
Pelletier collided with the car being driven by Shanice Dantzler-Williams, 28, at 11 p.m., May 8 while responding to a call regarding a disabled motorist on the roadway. Shanice, her younger sister Miranda, 22, and their mother Stephanie, 53, died at the scene due to injuries suffered in the accident.
Graziano said the South Carolina Highway Patrol had completed its investigation into the crash and is still working to complete its final reports. She noted however, Pelletier ran a stop sign before colliding with Shanice’s vehicle. Graziano believes speed was a contributing factor, but does not know the exact speed of either vehicle at the time of impact.
Pelletier’s lights and sirens were not activated at the time, Graziano confirmed, nor was the dash camera in the vehicle.
Stephanie’s mother, Betty Simmons shared her experience of waking up crying since the fatal crash, but what kept her moving forward was knowing that had her family’s car not been there to stop the speeding deputy, Pelletier may have lost control of her cruiser completely, flown across the intersection and died herself. Thus, her family sacrificed their lives for that of Pelletier.
“At the speed she was coming across that four-lane highway, she couldn’t turn, she couldn’t go straight — she was going straight into the woods,” Simmons said. “So the way I see it, my girls saved her life.”
Graziano declined to share further details, as doing so could have negative impacts on further investigations or court proceedings. Pelletier is still on administrative leave after being placed on leave shortly following the incident.
The press conference was held outside Green Pond Church in Green Pond, the family’s hometown in Colleton County.
Read the victims’ obituaries here:
This is a developing story. Follow Charleston City Paper for future updates.
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