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Crime & Courts

South Carolina DUI Arrest: Law Enforcement Corruption Alleged

Highway Patrol trooper under investigation …

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Last week, several media outlets in the South Carolina Upstate reported on the arrest of 35-year-old Benjamin Elliot McCormick of Anderson, S.C. on multiple charges of felony driving under the influence and child endangerment.

McCormick was involved in a fatal head-on collision that took place in Anderson County on March 5, 2023.

According to initial incident reports, McCormick was traveling eastbound on Concord Road – just north of Anderson, S.C. – at approximately 3:55 p.m. EST when his Toyota Camry crossed over the center line and struck a Toyota Corolla driven by 29-year-old Morgan Michelle Horne.

Horne, also of Anderson, was traveling westbound on Concord Road – headed to a golf outing, according to her parents.

“Her tragic and senseless death occurred as she was on her way to enjoy an afternoon of golf,” they wrote in her obituary.

An amateur golfer who had worked several regional PGA events, Horne succumbed instantly to the blunt force trauma to which she was subjected – and was pronounced dead at the scene.

(Click to View)

Morgan Horne (Sullivan-King Mortuary)

“Morgan learned at a young age how to love others and be generous in giving to others, especially those in need,” her parents wrote. “She lived a dedicated life to community service participating in various charitable and fundraising events, often leading them.  Morgan loved so many people and she was loved by so many more.  Her infectious smile was unwavering and always lit up a room.”

As for McCormick, he was traveling with two children – a seven-year-old and a child under the age of one – at the time of the crash. Thankfully, both children survived the violent collision.

The crash was investigated by the S.C. Highway Patrol (SCHP), and in its immediate aftermath – on March 7, 2023 – McCormick was charged with driving on the wrong side of the road and texting while driving.

Case closed, right?

Not hardly …

First of all, there was no accountability on either of those charges. Both were dismissed earlier this month when a SCHP trooper failed to appear in court in Anderson County.

More significantly, the dismissal of the initial charges has been followed by a flurry of new criminal charges against McCormick. Last week – more than seven months after the fatal collision – McCormick was charged with one count of felony driving under the influence resulting in death, two counts of felony DUI resulting in great bodily injury and child endangerment. He is currently being held without bond on the fatal DUI charge at the Anderson County detention center.

According to warrants issued in connection with his arrest on these charges, McCormick had a blood alcohol content (BAC) reading of .16 in the aftermath of the crash – which is twice the legal limit of 0.08.

(Click to view)

Benjamin McCormick (Anderson County)

Why did it take more than seven months for these charges to be filed? Especially as there appears to have been BAC evidence implicating McCormick in drunk driving in the immediate aftermath of the collision?

Those are good questions …

In fact, those questions are reportedly at the heart of a S.C. Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) internal investigation launched early this month. Led by SCDPS’ office of professional responsibility, the investigation centers on a complaint filed against master trooper David P. Robertson.

Robertson has been accused of conducting an “improper accident investigation … as a result of an incident that occurred on March 5, 2023.” According to our sources, Robertson was notified of the complaint filed against him – and the subsequent initiation of the internal investigation – on October 6, 2023.

In addition to the internal probe, sources familiar with the situation indicated Robertson could also be referred to the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) for a potential misconduct in office charge based on the allegations contained in the complaint.

This media outlet has reached out to SCDPS for any information it can provide related to the status of the ongoing investigation. Count on us to keep our audience updated on any information we obtain.

Our media outlet has been a staunch ally of rank-and-file SCHP troopers over the years … but we will not hesitate to call them out and hold them (and other law enforcement officers) accountable in the event they step out of line and violate the public trust.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Will Folks (Dylan Nolan)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven (soon to be eight) children.

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