Deputy racing another deputy to nonemergency kills mother and 2 daughters

On Mother’s Day in 2022, a wrongful death lawsuit claims, a fatal car crash occurred when two Charleston County Sheriff’s deputies competed with each other to get to a non-emergency call.

The lawsuit states that Deputy Emily Pelletier had been speeding at 73 mph on an unlit highway when she ran a stop sign and crashed into a vehicle containing Stephanie Dantzler, 53, and her two daughters, Shanice Dantzler-Williams, 28, and Miranda Dantzler-Williams, 22.

The impact sent the victims’ vehicle careening into a utility box, power pole, signs, and trees, and all three suffered catastrophic injuries and died.

The lawsuit names Pelletier, her partner Deputy Clinton Sacks, the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, and Charleston County, and alleges negligence, carelessness, and recklessness. The lawsuit states that it was not possible for Shanice to avoid Pelletier’s speeding vehicle, and that she was not at fault for the crash.

Additionally, the lawsuit references Pelletier’s poor performance in driver’s training and her deviation from dispatch-provided driving instructions over 100 times in the six months following her promotion to the field.

Richard Hricik, the attorney representing Betty Simmons, the mother of Stephanie Dantzler and grandmother to Shanice and Miranda Dantzler-Williams, stated in a news conference that Pelletier’s training record was “riddled with problems” and that the investigation into the crash was “flawed and limited from its very start”.

The lawsuit also documents GPS and other county vehicle data which allegedly shows Pelletier and Sacks had been driving their vehicles extremely recklessly and in violation of South Carolina law. Betty Simmons said the crash was “just like murder”.

WCSC reports that Pelletier was fired from the department one month after the crash and is currently facing three counts of reckless homicide. Sacks voluntarily resigned from the department and had not been disciplined for his actions related to the crash. A Charleston County Sheriff’s Office spokesman declined to comment on the pending litigation.