Crime & Public Safety

26-year-old man found dead inside Hilton Head sandwich shop restroom, police say

A 26-year-old Hilton Head man died from a suspected drug overdose inside a Subway restroom on the north end of the island last Wednesday afternoon, according to a Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office report.

Employees at the fast food restaurant on Main Street called police around 2 p.m. Oct. 2 when a worker found the man “lying motionless on the toilet,” the report said.

Several customers were complaining that the men’s restroom was locked for an abnormal amount of time, so a customer helped the workers open the door with a knife, according to the report.

Hilton Head Fire Rescue officials responded to the 911 call and pronounced him dead, the report said.

While investigating the scene, officers observed a bag of syringes, a spoon, and wax paper with “Call of Duty,” written on them, according to the report. Deputies also found the man’s bicycle outside of the restaurant.

According to court records, the man lived just across the street inside Indigo Run. Employees did not see him enter Subway, according to the report.

Investigators are awaiting autopsy results to officially determine whether the man’s death was caused by overdose.

In the past three weeks, Beaufort County officials have reported at least six nonfatal overdoses, including one man who overdosed at the Shelter Cove Starbucks on Sept. 20.

“The increase at the beginning of 2019 was alarming, and we still have an issue with opioids, and that issue hasn’t disappeared,” said Maj. Bob Bromage of the Beaufort County Sheriff’s office.

In two weeks in February, the county saw 12 non-fatal overdoses and two drug-related deaths.

Bromage said the good news is that overdose numbers are “nowhere near what they were in 2017,” when Beaufort County saw the highest number of drug overdoses in over five years.

More people died from drug overdoses in 2017 than in car accidents, according to data from the Beaufort County Coroner’s Office.

The county had 26 fatal drug overdoses and 24 car accident deaths that year, Janet Horton, the county’s administrative deputy coroner, previously told the Island Packet.

Last year, there were 12 overdose deaths and 30 car accident deaths, Horton said. This year’s data on overdose deaths was not readily available.

The Sheriff’s Office encourages anyone in the county struggling with drug and alcohol addition to visit the BCADAD website for “treatment, counseling and support,” according to a previous press release.

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Mandy Matney is an award-winning journalist and self-proclaimed shark enthusiast from Kansas. She worked for newspapers in Missouri and Illinois before she realized Midwestern winters are horrible, then moved to Hilton Head in 2016. She is the breaking news editor at the Island Packet.