A man was struck and killed by a S.C. Highway Patrol cruiser as he walked along U.S. 21 near Seabrook on Wednesday morning, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.
Just before 5 a.m., Trooper First Class D.W. Stephens reported he had hit a pedestrian walking south on the highway, near its intersection with Martin Lane, according to authorities. The 68-year-old pedestrian, whose name is being withheld until his family is notified, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Stephens, 41, was on duty and driving a marked Ford Crown Victoria, according to the Sheriff's Office, which is handling the investigation.
S.C. Department of Public Safety communications director Sherri Iacobelli said Stephens remains on his usual duty. Iacobelli said Stephens wouldn't be placed on modified duty because preliminary evidence indicates the man was walking on the road illegally.
"We have no policy that dictates whether a trooper would be placed on administrative leave for a situation like this," she said. "There was no use of force here. Everything points to this being accidental and there being nothing Trooper Stephens could do to avoid the man."
Iacobelli said Stephens has been a state trooper since January 2011.
U.S. 21 between Seabrook Center and Martin Lane was closed for more than two hours; traffic was rerouted onto Seabrook Center Road. The highway reopened about 7:30 a.m.