SALUDA COUNTY (WIS) - The Saluda County Sheriff's Office is now firmly in the mourning period after one of their deputies died Friday morning while responding to a call for service.
Cpl. Dale Hallman, 29, was on his way to aid the sheriff's office in their pursuit of an armed man with a child who just took them on a chase to just inside Edgefield County when his car went off the side of the road and overturned.
Hallman was was bringing one of the sheriff's office's K9 officers to the scene to help locate the suspect who fled his vehicle. The suspect, meanwhile, was apprehended late Friday.
The accident caused Hallman, who the South Carolina Highway Patrol said was not wearing a seat belt, to be ejected from his vehicle. He was taken to Self Memorial Hospital where he died around 3 a.m.
Saluda County Sheriff John Perry described the tragedy in a late afternoon news conference.
"It's a devastating event for us. We're a small family. When something happens to one of us, it happens to all of us," Perry said.
Perry spoke of Hallman highly and said he was a happy-go-lucky guy and a go-getter whose smile always lit up the sheriff's office. The loss of Hallman in the small sheriff's office has been nothing short of devastating, according to Perry.
"Anytime something like this happens to this magnitude, it's tragic. There's always things you can learn and there's always the what-ifs," Perry said. "The what-if's are not going to bring my deputy back."
"Dale can't be replaced."
The K9 officer, meanwhile, is expected to be okay and was not injured.
Hallman leaves behind a pregnant wife, two step-sons, a mother, a father, and a sister. Hallman's family has already begun to receive an outpouring of support.
The South Carolina Sheriff's Association released the following statement late Friday morning: