SPARTANBURG COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – Alex Eubanks pulled the tarp off the car he said his grandmother Marianne Eubanks always drove on Asheville Highway.
“She went up and down this road every day,” he said. “She still cut her grass up until the day she died.”
He said he’s still dealing with the loss. She recently turned 88 years old.
“I saw her on her birthday and that was just a few days before the accident,” he recalled.
The accident happened at Asheville Highway and Springfield Road on Aug. 21. Eubanks said his grandmother was going to see his father.
“She was taking some tomatoes she had canned for him and never made it there,” he said. “It’s a real tragedy.”
Investigators with the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office looked into the wreck because it involved a state trooper, and determined speed was a contributing factor.
According to the sheriff’s office, video evidence proved Eubanks failed to yield to oncoming traffic when she collided with state trooper Christopher Nicholls, who was responding to a wreck with possible entrapment.
The sheriff’s office says Trooper Nicholls was traveling 61 miles per hour in a 35 mile per hour zone, and the speed at impact was 42 miles per hour.
Investigators say his lights and sirens were not on and a malfunctioning dash camera did not record the accident.
“The SCDPS Office of Professional Responsibility will begin an administrative review of the incident with regard to department policies and procedures. Trooper Nicholls remains on administrative duty due to injuries sustained in the collision,” said Captain R. K. Hughes, South Carolina Highway Patrol in a statement.
“This could’ve been anybody’s family and you know, it’s senseless,” said Alex Eubanks. “I think if he wouldn’t have been going 61 or if he would’ve had his lights and sirens on, she would still be here today.”
The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office investigated and said both drivers were at fault, citing Nicholls with driving too fast for conditions.
“I’ve gotten ticketed a lot more than $80 and two points for less than that,” said Eubanks, who added he forgives Trooper Nicholls. “I know he didn’t set out for this to happen and I just want accountability. I want for him what would be charged of me.”
According to the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, Trooper Nicholls has been with Highway Patrol since 2013.