Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Wrongful death suit filed against IOP following fatal collision on Connector

Wife of Phil Wallace takes legal action against city

Posted by Dustin Waters on Tue, Mar 7, 2017 at 10:52 AM

click to enlarge Phil Wallace - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Phil Wallace
The wife of the Mt. Pleasant man who died in a fatal accident on the Isle of Palms Connector has filed a civil suit against the City of Isle of Palms and an island resident, alleging gross negligence.

Phil Wallace, 51, died Oct. 13, 2016, following a wreck on his moped. According to the S.C. Highway Patrol, Wallace collided with an Isle of Palms police car parked on the bridge around 5 a.m. After colliding with the police cruiser, Wallace was thrown from his moped and hit by an oncoming vehicle. He was later declared dead at Medical University Hospital.

The wrongful death suit, filed by Wallace’s widow and Motley Rice law firm, claims that the patrol cars parked on the shoulder of the Isle of Palms Connector failed to activate their lights prior to the early morning collision.

Court documents filed by Motley Rice attorneys state that Wallace, a chef, was travelling home after learning that he was not scheduled to work the breakfast shift at his place of employment. Driving back to his Mt. Pleasant home, Wallace turned onto the Isle of Palms Connector shortly after 5 a.m., followed by a truck. Attorneys claim that Wallace hugged the outer white line of the roadway as the truck passed. It was at this point that Wallace collided with the parked police car, launching his body into the roadway.

Activating their blue lights, one of the officers left his patrol car to check on Wallace. Court documents state that Wallace was injured but conscious following his initial collision with a patrol car. Attorneys claim that officers failed to reposition their vehicles to prevent oncoming traffic from reaching Wallace, and he was then struck by a vehicle driven by Robert Abel, island resident and a member of the Isle of Palms Code Board of Appeals. No criminal charges were brought against any parties following the incident.

In response to questions regarding the suit, Isle of Palms City Administrator Linda Tucker wrote in an email, “I understand that documents are forthcoming, but I have not seen or read the complaint as yet. Anytime there is loss of a human life, it is tragic. Our hearts go out to Mr. Wallace’s family.”

The lawsuit cites that the Isle of Palms Connector does not have any overhead lights illuminating lanes of travel. When asked if Wallace’s death has led to any consideration of adding lighting to the bridge, Tucker wrote that the route in question is under the purview of the S.C. Department of Transportation, and any decision regarding lighting would be under their jurisdiction.

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