Woman fatally hit by police on South Carolina beach

Caleb McCusker and Dennis Bright

3 hours ago

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) — A South Carolina police officer is on leave after a beachgoer was struck and killed by a police vehicle on Thursday.

According to Horry County authorities, 66-year-old Sandra “Sandy” Schultz-Peters of Myrtle Beach was struck by a police pickup truck in the Myrtle Beach area shortly after 1 p.m.

The truck was traveling north along the beach when it struck Schultz-Peters, who was facing east, the South Carolina Highway Patrol said.

Despite all rescue efforts, Schultz-Peters was pronounced dead in a nearby hospital.

A man who was present at the time of the incident described the moments surrounding the chaotic scene.

“From where I was standing, I had turned around. I heard someone screaming, 'Someone got hit,'” Dennis Miller told Nexstar's WBTW. “We ran over here and yes, there was a woman on the ground and a truck on top of her.”

“What happened on the beach yesterday was a tragedy and we know our community is hurting,” Horry County police said in the statement. “Our condolences go out to everyone affected by this loss. We also know our community has questions. We do, too.”

“We have a responsibility to ensure that investigations – both external and internal – occur without delays or disruptions. The Horry County Police Department is providing all access and information the South Carolina Highway Patrol may need to complete its investigation. At this time, the officer involved is on leave. We stand ready to provide any assistance we can to our community and the family suffering this tragic loss.”

On Friday, a highway patrol team was near the beach entrance, using a drone to collect aerial photographs and other documents.

Further information was not initially available.

This is not the first time such an incident has occurred at a Horry County beach. In 2020, a person was struck by a Horry County Police patrol car while laying on the beach in Garden City.

However, the recent incident prompted lawmakers to demand change.

“There's just no room on the coast for the sunbathers and the people who come to enjoy our area and who also have F-150s and other vehicles, while we have other resources that we rely on,” state Rep. William Bailey (R-Little River) told WBTW on Saturday.

Bailey, a former public safety director in North Myrtle Beach, said he would like to see the use of large vehicles on the beach banned in non-emergency situations during peak summer hours.

“In light of this tragedy, we should definitely ask ourselves whether we are doing it right,” Bailey said. “Just patrolling the ocean with large vehicles when there are thousands and thousands of people there is simply not worth the risk.”

State Rep. Tim McGinnis (R-Myrtle Beach) told WBTW that he would also support efforts to better regulate the use of large vehicles on the beach.

“I want to talk to law enforcement and safety officials about laws that will prevent this from happening again,” he said in a text message. “What happened was a tragedy and if there is an opportunity to make our beaches safer, we need to take advantage of it.”

WBTW's Adam Benson and Hannah Huffstickler contributed to this report.

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