COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A woman was badly injured, the celebration for Columbia's mayor-elect ended suddenly, and the city's police chief lost his job. It all happened following a pre-dawn, two-car collision last month. And there's still a cloud of doubt hanging over the accident investigation.
As most of you know, Mayor-elect Steve Benjamin's SUV collided with a car driven by Deborah Rubens, who is still recovering from her injuries. When Police Chief Tandy Carter dragged his feet on calling in outside investigators, City Manager Steve Gantt rightly fired him. The city needs to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest in having city police investigate the mayor-elect. Now, it's too late for state law enforcement to do more than review the investigation.
It's a shame this is happening at a time when City Hall needs to be restoring confidence in local government. We hope Deborah Rubens fully recovers, that the city finds a highly qualified police chief, and that Steve Benjamin can start a new administration without lingering questions over what happened on the morning of April 21. Interim Police Chief Carl Burke must conduct a thorough and impartial investigation. The people of Columbia deserve nothing less.