DUI suspect dies after delay getting emergency care, Charleston police officer suspended

    DUI suspect death/SLED investigates

    He was the suspect in a DUI crash but now his lawyers say he is a victim.

    Nathaniel Rhodes died four days after he was arrested last August.

    Now these fateful decisions by first responders are at the center of a new SLED investigation.

    The victim's family's lawyer say the Charleston Police Department is responsible for his death.

    The daughter of Nathaniel Rhodes calls what happened to her dad "gross negligence."

    Police believe Rhodes was under the influence when he ran a red light at Coming Street and Hwy. 17 South and hit an oncoming car.

    Records show Rhodes asked to go to the nearest hospital and the police officer signed a refusal form on behalf of the ailing patient.

    “The only person who can sign this form is Mr. Rhodes or this woman sitting right here and she wasn’t out there,” says attorney Justin Bamberg at a press conference.

    Police Chief Luther Reynolds says Officer P. Kelly, who signed the refusal form, has been suspended with pay while SLED investigates.

    “I don’t understand for the life of me why any officer would sign any EMS form relating to patient treatment. Even as a witness— I don’t understand why we would do that,” says Reynolds.

    Bamberg examined police video of the night Rhodes was brought to the police station for a DataMaster test to measure his blood alcohol content following the crash.

    According to Bamberg, the 58-year-old father of three had eight broken ribs and a lacerated liver.

    “There is nothing good about what Mr. Rhodes is going through at this moment,” he says about Rhodes in the video. “This man is unconscious struggling to breathe."

    Bamberg adds, “We wish that they had immediately gotten Mr. Rhodes the medical care that he so desperately needed.”

    According to the police report, Rhodes collapsed at the station and EMS was called.

    The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office says it will conduct an internal administrative investigation into the actions and involvement of Charleston County EMS as well.

    “There is nothing we can do to get our father back nothing we can fill that void, but we want there to be a change we want peace and answers,” says Rhodes’ daughter Megan Rhodes.

    According to Bamberg, another delay was the request to hand over information to the family immediately following Rhodes’ death.

    Bamberg says police body cam video that could have shed light on the incident was deleted.

    Chief Reynolds asked SLED to investigate the incident and says changes are coming.

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