State Rep. Jimmy Bales collapsed on the the floor of the S.C. house Wednesday, a day after walking away from a dramatic car crash.
Bales, 82, was recovering Wednesday afternoon and was expected to be released from Palmetto Health Baptist hospital during the evening, said his wife, Lynn.
She said tests did not find a connection between her husband's collapse and Tuesday's car crash. "They're just continuing to run more tests, but he's not being admitted to the hospital.''
Lynn Bales said her husband was in good spirits but was being advised to rest Thursday. "His daughter and I are really laying the law down that he is not going to the State House tomorrow.''
Bales, a former Richland County Council member and Lower Richland High School principal, was elected to the Legislature in 1998. A Democrat, his districts represents Lower Richland and part of Kershaw County.
Bales' collapse created a dramatic scene Wednesday as security guards blocked access to the House chambers while awaiting emergency crews to attend to Bales.
Until they arrived, Bales was attended to by state Rep. Robert Ridgeway, D-Clarendon, a medical doctor, and Coleman Buckhouse, a former board member at the Department of Health and Environmental Control, who was acting as the House's "doctor of the day."
A witness said Bales slumped to his desk during a floor debate. The session immediately was suspended and TV cameras, filming the proceedings, went black as medical personnel entered the chamber.
Ridgeway said Bales quickly regained consciousness. The Eastover Democrat also was given oxygen.
Bales was taken out of the chamber on a stretcher. Lobbyists and members of the public, gathered in the lobby, applauded as he was taken to Baptist, just a few blocks from the State House.
House Democratic Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Richland, said Bales was dedicated to his job, returning to the State House just a day after the car that Bales was driving overturned as he attempted to avoid a dog in the road.
"He told me this morning that he flipped his car three times, but he came back to the State House last night to check in," Rutherford said. "He wants the people in his district to know that he does not want to miss a day.
"Me or anybody else would have taken the day off today," Rutherford said.
Bales filed this week to run for re-election to the District 80 House seat.