KERSHAW COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews says he prays every day for the safety of his deputies, and according to him, those prayers were answered on Saturday night after a deputy in his patrol car was struck head-on by a drunk driver.
According to Matthews, his deputy, who has not been identified, was driving on Highway 1 near Park road when he was struck by 55-year-old Tony Ervin Hayes at about 9 p.m. Both cars, Matthews said, were traveling at 55 MPH.
The deputy was not injured. Hayes, however, suffered critical injuries and had to be extricated from the car. Hayes is currently in ICU at Palmetto Health Richland with serious injuries.
Once released from the hospital, Matthews says Hayes will be charged with DUI, simple possession of marijuana, and an ABC violation.
"Like the public at large, deputies are not immune from the actions of a drunk driver," Matthews said in a statement. "Body armor, airbags and a push guard added to the front of the patrol vehicle likely minimized injuries to the deputy."