Benjamin's SUV had auto headlight setting
WACH FOX News has confirmed that Columbia attorney Steve Benjamin was driving a 2008 Mercedes R350 during the collision on April 21.
The mayor-elect said he was heading to early morning media interviews when he collided with Clarion Hotel employee, Deborah Rubens. Benjamin defeated Columbia businessman, Kirkman Finlay, the previous night and was staying at the Hilton Hotel located in Vista.
Surveillance video released First On Fox, shows a Mercedes that matches the description of Benjamin's SUV. WACH FOX has not confirmed whether or not that is Benjamin's vehicle.
The video doesn't provide a clear indication as to if the vehicle believed to be Benjamin's, is traveling with or without headlights.
On Monday, WACH FOX tried to call several local dealerships for more on how the headlights in the Mercedes R350 work and whether or not the vehicle has an automatic setting.
All of the businesses we contacted would not comment, but we were able to view the inside of an older model to get an idea of how the headlights operate on the condition that the source remain anonymous.
WACH FOX compared the light features in the online Mercedes to that of the 2006 model and found little difference between the two vehicles.
The Mercedes R350 that Benjamin was driving on the morning of April 21 did in fact have an automatic setting. The manual indicates that this setting allows the vehicle to use a sensor to detect how much light is necessary depending on the environment or time of day.
WACH FOX News contacted a Benjamin spokesperson regarding his stay and whether he used the valet service at the Hilton Hotel and he would not discuss the details of this ongoing investigation.
WACH FOX spoke with Southern Valet Service about their standard procedures. They would not discuss specifics, but they did say that attendants will turn off the headlights if the vehicle does not come with an auto setting.
During a Friday morning press conference, Columbia Police Chief Tandy Carter said he is looking into the matter.
"We have witnesses that mentioned the lights. We have to verify that information," Carter said Friday.
Carter also said that he has no timeline for completing this investigation, since the process is one of facts and not a race against the clock.