Deputy, K-9 recovering after crash that killed N.C. man Monday in Beaufort

A Beaufort County sheriff's deputy was expected to be released from the hospital Tuesday after he was involved in a crash Monday night on Trask Parkway in Beaufort in which a man died.

The S.C. Highway Patrol still is investigating the crash that hospitalized Cpl. Dan Martin, 39, and two others. Christopher Dale Brewington, 22, of Morganton, N.C., died in the wreck.

Investigators say Martin, one of the office's K-9 officers, was traveling north on Trask Parkway at about 6 p.m. when the driver of a 1999 Chrysler Sebring convertible pulled out in front of him near Stokes Brown Toyota. The driver, 18-year-old Kinley Church of Wilkesboro, N.C., was attempting to make a U-turn, said Cpl. Sonny Collins, Highway Patrol spokesman.

Brewington, who was sitting in the back seat of the convertible, was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the car. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to county coroner Ed Allen.

Martin, Church and a 17-year-old female passenger in the Chrysler were taken by ambulance to Beaufort Memorial Hospital, according to a sheriff's report. Church and the girl were treated and released from the hospital Monday night, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Martin was bruised and kept overnight in the hospital. He was listed in good condition Tuesday and was expected to be released, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

The wreck also injured Martin's canine partner, Nero, who had cuts to his two front paws and required 12 stitches and three staples, said Sheriff P.J. Tanner.

Nero, a Belgian Malinois, is the department's regular patrol K-9 and also is used to detect drugs.

Tanner said both were sore but in good spirits Tuesday.

"He feels like he just got run over by a freight train, which is understandable," Tanner said of Martin, who has been with the office for about two years.

Tanner said it will be at least two weeks before Martin and Nero return to duty.

Investigators from the Highway Patrol's Multi-Disciplinary Accident Investigation Team say they have not yet determined who was at fault in the wreck.

The Beaufort Gazette and Island Packet requested footage from the dashboard camera in Martin's Dodge Durango SUV but Cpl. Robin McIntosh said it was unlikely the camera recorded any of the crash. The camera only begins filming when an officer activates the blue lights on his squad car and Martin wasn't responding to a call at the time of the wreck, McIntosh said.