LEXINGTON, SC (WIS) - After a dozen years in police work with the South Carolina Highway Patrol and more recently, the Lexington County Sheriff's Department, Eddie Richardson is out of law enforcement.
His fight these days is not with criminals, but for a way to cover his healthcare expenses. Richardson suffered injuries to his spine and hip when he was struck by a car driven by a burglary suspect in August 2016.
The deputy was rammed while trying to arrest 43-year-old Bryan Byrd near the Edmund community. In his Lexington living room Monday, Richardson recalled the impact.
"I hit the hood with my hand, lifted my legs up off the ground," Richardson said. "He struck me in the shins with the bumper. I went up and over the driver's side of the vehicle and landed on one foot."
Richardson managed to pull his gun and squeeze off several rounds.
"I shot until he took his foot off the accelerator."
Three of the bullets hit Byrd, killing him. The State Law Enforcement Division later ruled the shooting was justifiable. Since then, Richardson has been to see a doctor nearly three dozen times and he has undergone three surgeries for injuries to his spine and right hip.
But as he waits to schedule a fourth operation, the 40-year-old is frustrated over how to pay for his medical needs and those of his family. County rules say an officer must serve ten years with the department to qualify for the lower cost coverage he had before he was forced to retire.
Richardson had been with Lexington County only seven years.
"I can't afford $1,650 a month for COBRA," Richardson said. "My only alternative is to try and find outside health insurance which is extremely expensive."
Lexington Sheriff Jay Koon asked county council members to allow Richardson to continue the coverage he had when he was working, but the request was turned down.
Richardson, who also served as a field training officer, says most of the other deputies he worked with could face the same problem.
"I've still got my guys out there working," he said. "My guys don't have 10 years in, so if they go on a call tonight and something happens, are they going to get the same treatment and is that fair? What about the guys across the state that are in the same situation?"