Columbia Police Chief Tandy Carter has asked the S.C. Department of Public Safety to review his agency's investigation of Mayor-elect Steve Benjamin's accident.
Carter had no choice but to ask for the review after an attorney general's opinion -- that he requested -- said he must follow the orders of Columbia City Council and City Manager Steve Gantt.
The letter to Mark Keel, the public safety director, is short.
"The purpose of this correspondence is to request your department conduct a review of the Benjamin/Rubens collision that occurred on April 21, 2010, upon its completion by our department," the letter said. "Please advise me as soon as possible if you are agreeable to my request."
The chief and the council were in a stand off this week after council wanted to know why an outside agency had not been called to conduct an independent investigation of Benjamin's wreck. Council was concerned about the public's perception that Benjamin would receive special treatment. Gantt and his bosses on City Council appeared ready to fire Carter over the issue.
The highway patrol will review the completed investigation. It will not make conclusions but will make recommendations or suggestions based on the information presented.
Council had wanted the highway patrol to take over the entire investigation. On Thursday, Keel said it was too late for a new agency to step in, but his agency would conduct a review if the police chief requested it.
-- Noelle Phillips