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South Carolina lawmaker wants police trucks banned from beaches after woman fatally hit: ‘it’s indefensible’
June 27 2024, 08:00

Police in South Carolina have scaled back their use of trucks for patrolling operations on beaches after a 66-year-old woman was fatally struck earlier this month, while a local lawmaker tells Fox News Digital he will propose legislation that would ban the large vehicles on the sand except for in the case of emergencies. 

A longtime officer was driving a Ford Ranger on Myrtle Beach on June 13 when he accidentally rolled over Sandy Schultz-Peters, a local nurse who was sitting on the beach around 1 p.m., according to reports. 

The woman was struck from the front and pinned under the front passenger side tire of the truck as it pulled onto the beach from the Nash Street access, according to The Post and Courier. After a frantic effort to save her, which included help from the driver and two paramedics who happened to be on the beach at the time, Schultz-Peters later died in a hospital.


The deadly incident is being investigated by the South Carolina Highway Patrol as well as the Horry County Police Department (HCPD) and has raised questions about the safety risks of having trucks on beaches due to dangerous blind spots in front of the vehicles' hoods. 

The incident isn’t the first involving an officer in Horry County. 

In 2020, an officer drove over a 69-year-old woman who was lying on the sand in Garden City, with the officer in that case saying he had been turning right onto a beach access and some trash cans blocked his view of the woman, who survived, according to local reports.

State Rep. William Bailey, a Republican and former North Myrtle Beach public safety director, told Fox News Digital there is less room to maneuver the patrol trucks as South Carolina beaches have become busier and that it is time to take legislative action on the matter.

"At the end of the day, it's indefensible to tell me that you need to have a full-size truck down there when you have people lying on towels," Bailey says. "We need to eliminate the full-size vehicle – the peripheral vision is terrible."

Bailey said he wants police to use ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) for patrols and that trucks should only be used in an emergency with sirens blaring to notify beachgoers. He said that today's ATVs can effectively carry the same types of equipment as trucks and that when he managed the city’s beach patrol he tried to minimize the hours trucks would be on the beach.

"It's such a tragic event. Not only is it a tragic event for the family that lost their loved one, but it's also a tragic event for these officers who are down there just trying to do their job, who have an accident and they'll be forever impacted," Bailey said.

"So I think once public safety wraps their head around the situation and understands that there are other ways to do their job safely that will have a positive impact… I think it'll be a win-win for our community and our state beaches."

State Rep. Tim McGinnis, a Republican, told Fox News Digital that he is open to supporting such legislation if public safety officials deem it necessary.

"I’m kind of in the investigation stage right now and this is just tragic what happened and anything we can do to prevent that and, at the same time let the police and public safety people do their job, is what I want."

The Horry County Police Department said that it had decreased the use of trucks and increased the use of foot and ATV patrols.

"Trucks remain critical for some calls for service due to certain emergency equipment and community member transportation needs," the statement released on Friday, a week after the incident, reads in part. 

HCPD said its beach patrol unit uses an array of equipment including trucks, ATVS, jet skis and boats to service beaches in the county with the type of vehicle being used dependent upon the time of day, the type for service and how many people are on the beach at any given moment. The police department’s jurisdiction stretches about 14 miles from Little River to Murrells Inlet.

Fox News Digital reached out to HCPD for comment but did not receive a response. 


Last year, the Palmetto State banned trucks from having front fenders raised four or more inches from the height of their rear fender – known as the Carolina Squat – due to the dangers such vehicles pose by obstructing drivers’ views.

Patrol truck safety concerns are not just confined to South Carolina beaches.

A police sergeant in Florida ran over two 18-year-old females with a patrol truck at Daytona Beach on Memorial Day, officials said. The pair were sunbathing at the time and were taken to hospital in stable condition.


In 2020, Indian Shores Police in Florida ran over a man lying on the beach and listening to music on his phone. He survived, having spent two weeks in intensive care. 

The same year, a Florida sheriff's deputy ran over a 23-year-old woman who was sunbathing on St. Pete Beach in Florida. She suffered non-life threatening injuries and was taken to the hospital.

Meanwhile, in 2019, a 30-year-old female sunbather was injured after being hit by a Los Angeles Police Department patrol cruiser on Venice Beach, CBS Los Angeles reported.