Support pours in for injured Beaufort police officer

sbowman@islandpacket.comAugust 10, 2013 

A Beaufort police officer who was struck by a car while working an earlier accident late Friday remained in serious condition Saturday at the Medical University of South Carolina.

A day after 1st Sgt. Chris Cushman was injured, Police Chief Matt Clancy described him as "a well-thought of and respected leader in the department."

"Obviously everyone is very concerned about him, but we've had lots of public support and well wishes for him," Clancy said Saturday.

Cushman joined the department as a reserve officer in about 1991, Clancy said, and became a full-time officer in 1992 or 1993. He currently works as a patrol supervisor, Clancy said.

Cushman, 45, was struck just after 9 p.m. Friday and taken to Beaufort Memorial Hospital before being transferred to MUSC in Charleston.

Clancy declined to discuss the specifics of Cushman's injuries, as did MUSC spokeswoman Dawn Brazell.

THE ACCIDENT

Cushman was clearing an earlier multi-vehicle collision on Boundary street when he was struck by a 1998 Mustang driven by 30-year-old Jamel Brown, of Beaufort, who was driving north on the road.

No charges had been filed as of Saturday afternoon, according to Sgt. Bob Beres of the South Carolina Highway Patrol. He said the agency's Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team is handling the investigation and is working to determine speed, fault and the course of events.

Once the team finishes its investigation -- which Beres said likely won't be for several days -- it will determine if any charges will be filed.

Clancy could not provide specifics of the accident Cushman was clearing, but characterized it as "pretty typical," one that officers might work several times a day.

"This just underscores how quickly something can happen and the dangers of this job," Clancy said. "But considering how bad it could've been, we're just thankful it wasn't worse."

PRAYERS OFFERED

Clancy said he visited Cushman on Saturday morning. He described the injured officer as very thankful for the support he and his family have received.

Clancy said additional support has come from the Charleston County Sheriff's Office and the Charleston Police Department. Both have been very gracious and helpful to the Cushman family, Clancy said.

As difficult as the situation has been, he said it is comforting to see people stepping up to help. He said his phone has been ringing often as residents call to check on Cushman and send their prayers.

Several Beaufort officers expressed their concern while attending a cleanup event at the Spanish Trace Apartments on Southside Boulveard on Saturday morning.

Most said Cushman and his family are strong in their faith. His fellow officers are confident he'll pull through.

So is Clancy.

"He has some pretty serious injuries, but he is a tough guy and has that spirit and he will be fighting every step of the way," he said.

Follow reporter Sarah Bowman on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Sarah.

Related content:

Beaufort police officer struck by car on Boundary Street, August 9, 2013

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