A Claflin University alumna and South Carolina State University alumna are among the dead from a terrible accident where a deputy hit and killed a mother and her two daughters. Learn more in the story by Steve Garrison and Kailey Cota at Post and Courier below.
A former Charleston County sheriff’s deputy was released from jail after posting $75,000 bail in her criminal case following a Mother’s Day car crash that killed a woman and her two daughters.
Emily Pelletier appeared at the June 10 bail hearing by video after surrendering to authorities in the late morning. She is charged with three counts of reckless homicide.
The rookie deputy was fired from the Sheriff’s Office June 10 after an internal investigation showed she violated department policy, sheriff’s spokesman Andrew Knapp said.
Pelletier was fired for violating the law and operating her vehicle in an unsafe manner, according to a termination letter.
Defense attorney Frank Cornely said the 24-year-old Hardeeville woman was a civil servant, “called to this job to help people.” Cornely argued that Pelletier was accused of criminal negligence — not criminal intent — and posed no danger to the community.
A no-contact order for the victims’ family was issued against Pelletier. She was also ordered not to leave the state.
Pelletier is accused of speeding through a stop sign at an “excessive speed” at 11 p.m. May 8 while crossing U.S. Highway 17 on New Road near Ravenel, according to an affidavit.
South Carolina Highway Patrol investigated the crash. The state agency determined Pelletier’s patrol cruiser was traveling at an estimated 73 mph when she smashed into a car carrying Stephania Dantzler, 53, and her two daughters, Shanice Dantzler-Williams, 28, and Miranda Dantzler-Williams, 22.
The women’s sedan was sent careening into the woods, striking small trees, a utility box, power pole guy wires and traffic signs, according to a crash report. Dantzler and her daughters died at the scene. Pelletier was treated for injuries that were not life-threatening, authorities said.
Pelletier, who was responding to a call for assistance from a stranded motorist, did not have her lights or sirens activated, Sheriff Kristin Graziano said at a June 7 press conference. The motorist was stranded in the roadway and called the sheriff’s department more than once to say she was scared and that she was in danger, Cornely said at the bond hearing.
“It was not their time to die,” said state Rep. Marvin Pendarvis, an attorney representing the victims’ estate. “She struck the helpless Dantzler family like a missile.”
Magistrate Amanda Haselden said the “level of recklessness in this situation speaks for itself” before setting bail at $75,000.
Pendarvis agreed, saying Pelletier acted with indifference to human life.
Pendarvis said the family wished for Pelletier to be denied bail, but state law only allows certain defendants charged with violent crimes to be held without bail.
The former deputy’s mother, father and sister attended the bond hearing but declined to make a statement.
Pelletier had been employed by the Sheriff’s Office since April 23, 2021, according to S.C. Criminal Justice Academy records. She became a Class 1 law enforcement officer in August after graduating from basic training. Pelletier had no prior record.
Prior to working with the sheriff’s department full time, Pelletier worked with the victims advocate unit as an intern. It was there that she realized she wanted to join the sheriff’s department “to help people,” Cornely said.
Pelletier is scheduled for an initial court appearance on July 29.