Port Royal could get a new firetruck to replace one stolen by a man who struck and killed a pedestrian with it last year.
A decision on the purchase could come as soon as next week, Port Royal officials said during a Town Council work session Wednesday night. Council has a voting meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Town Hall.
In February 2012, Kalvin Hunt, then a Marine, fled Naval Hospital Beaufort, stole Engine 5 and struck and killed Justin Nicholas Miller, 28. Hunt was charged with murder, two counts of resisting arrest, six counts of hit and run with injuries, first-degree assault and battery, and grand larceny.
Insurance and legal issues had to be resolved before the town could replace the truck.
Insurance estimates said it would cost $275,000 to repair the vehicle and subsequently declared it a total loss.
The manufacturer said it had seen vehicles with worse damage and did not deem it a total loss, Beaufort/Port Royal Fire Department Chief Sammy Negron said.
A new, identical truck would cost $650,000 today, he said.
The town and the department have requested bids, due Monday, for a triple-combination pumper truck that is not identical to the truck lost.
Both hope to pay between $400,000 and $450,000. A similar truck, the last the department purchased, cost $387,000 in 2010 and would cost about $437,000 today, Negron said.
The engine that was damaged was purchased in the mid 1990s to replace Engine 4, which was not designed for heavy duty use and quickly showed signs of wear and tear.
"So Engine 4 was enjoying retirement when the accident happened and we had to put it back in service," Negron said.
However, its age is again showing and the truck is frequently down for repair. When that happens, an engine must be borrowed from another station, Negron said.
"It's been doing the best it can, but it's an old truck and systems fail," he said.
The department is still deciding what to do with Engine 5, but the intent is to sell it and use the proceeds toward the new truck.
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.