First On Fox: Video may show Benjamin's SUV
Fri, 23 Apr 2010 14:56:08 GMT —
A major question remains in the investigation into a crash involving Mayor-Elect Steve Benjamin and Clarion hotel worker Deborah Rubens, who is listed in critical condition. Did Benjamin have his headlights on?
WACH Fox News has First On Fox video that may help answer that question. Click here to watch the surveillance video seen First On Fox showing a vehicle matching the description of Benjamin's Mercedes SUV just moments before the crash Wednesday 5:40 a.m. The car can be seen making a right turn onto Gervais Street from Park Street. The Hilton hotel where the Benjamin campaign says he spent election night is located one block away on Park Street.
Friday morning Columbia Police held a press conference to give an update on their investigation into the crash. Rubens is hospitalized and listed in critical condition at Palmetto Richland Hospital.
Police Chief Tandy Carter said they continue their investigation and that it has not been handed over to other agencies.
Investigators did not give a timeline for the investigation and say they want to run a complete investigation.
"Investigations are driven by facts not a time clock," Carter said.
They are working to find out whether Benjamin had his headlights off at the time.
Officials say they have three witnesses from the scene.
Carter told the media that he is unsure of who called 911, but at least three calls came in. He's unsure whether Benjamin placed a call.
He went on to say Columbia Police are not investigating Benjamin, but are investigating the accident.
The crash happened about an hour before sunrise Wednesday when Benjamin's Mercedes SUV collided with Rubens' Toyota Tercel at the corner of Pickens and Gervais Street
Benjamin was on his way to morning media interviews after he won the City of Columbia's mayoral run-off election the night before.
Benjamin was not injured in the crash. He was checked out on the scene by EMS personnel, but later went to a doctor as a precautionary measure.
Investigators say they spoke with Benjamin shortly after the accident occurred. They say they saw no signs that Benjamin had been drinking.
His spokesman Michael Wukela says he was not texting or on the phone at the time of the incident either.
The scene does not show any signs of skid marks in the intersection, which suggests that neither driver hit the brakes before impact.
Keep checking back throughout the day for the very latest on this developing story from WACH Fox and MidlandsConnect.com.
Do you think Columbia Police can be impartial investigating Mayor-Elect Steve Benjamin's car crash?
Vote in the poll below.
Police to update on Benjamin crash - Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 2:56 p.mColumbia Police will hold a press conference regarding the crash that happened Wednesday when Mayor-Elect Steve Benjamin's SUV collided with a woman's car on his way to interviews after winning the city's run-off election.
POLL - Mayor-elect car crash - Thursday 4/22/2010 2:03:32 p.m.Do you think Steve Benjamin's car crash will impact his ability to serve effectively as Columbia's mayor?Investigators: Benjamin not impaired after crash - Wednesday, April 21, 2010Mayor-elect Steve Benjamin was involved in a car crash early Wednesday morning that sent one woman to the hospital. WACH Fox News talks to a witness who describes the incident.
Columbia voters elect new mayor - Wednesday, April 21, 2010Attorney and businessman Steve Benjamin is Columbia's new mayor-elect.
Benjamin to serve as Columbia's next mayor - Tuesday, April 20, 2010Steve Benjamin grabbed over 55 percent of voters' approval in Tuesday's run-off. That compares to opponent Kirkman Finlay's 44 percent.