Police: Officer killed in wreck wore no seatbelt, ran light

AP News
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Posted: Nov 23, 2015 3:15 PM

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina police officer killed in a wreck while responding to a shooting call was not wearing her seatbelt, ran a red light at 64 mph and never hit her brakes before the crash, according to an investigation by a special team of South Carolina troopers.

Columbia Officer Stacy Case's cruiser was hit almost directly on the driver's door by a University of South Carolina police officer going 76 mph, police Chief Skip Holbrook said Monday, summarizing the troopers' report.

University police Sgt. Allan Bolin also wasn't wearing a seatbelt. He survived. The university didn't respond to an email asking whether he faces any punishment.

Case and Bolin wrecked three minutes after a 911 call about shots fired and one person hit at a restaurant in downtown Columbia on a Saturday night, Holbrook said. The call turned out to be a public suicide.

Case, 37, was turning right on to the street leading to the restaurant and ran the red light. Police policy allows officers in emergency situations to ignore traffic signals as long as they slow down first to make sure it is safe and allows officers to drive no more than 20 mph over the speed limit. Holbrook said Case violated both those policies.

But Holbrook said those violations didn't diminish Case's otherwise spotless record. She served in the U.S. Army for 15 years before being hired by Columbia in 2011.

"She died in the line of duty, answering an emergency call for service," Holbrook said. "She died a hero responding to help."

Holbrook said after the wreck that he decided to require all officers on emergency calls to stop for red lights and stop signs.