DeJuan Holmes, a former Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office deputy who admitted to having sex with the principal of Hilton Head Island High School on school grounds, has stepped down from a Town of Hilton Head Island committee that was to offer input on the future of the U.S. 278 corridor project.
Holmes was named the vice chairman of the committee on Jan. 16 after applying and interviewing for the volunteer position. He sent a letter of resignation to town staff on Monday morning, according to assistant town manager Josh Gruber.
“It is with regret that I am writing this letter to inform of my decision to resign my position ... effective immediately. Thank you for the opportunity to serve,” Holmes wrote in a letter addressed to Town Council member Marc Grant, who is also on the committee.
Four phone calls to numbers associated with Holmes seeking comment Monday were not returned.
The Island Packet has previously reported that the U.S. 278 committee was chosen to represent local interests during the corridor project — which is managed by the S.C. Department of Transportation.
That committee, now down to 12 people, is scheduled to have their first meeting in late February. Gruber said the absence of a vice-chairman will not push back that date.
With Holmes’ resignation, the number of native islanders on the committee falls to two, Grant and Alex Brown.
Although the committee was billed by former Mayor David Bennett as an opportunity for native islanders to participate in the project, the committee’s charter has since been expanded to include island-wide interests, Grant said.
Brown, chairman of the town’s planning commission and vice president of operations for Resort Retail Operations Inc., said Holmes’ resignation means a loss in representation for the native island community.
“This project is going to affect all of us,” Brown said, “those of us that live here, that work here, (and) that visit here. But it’s not going to affect anybody as much as its going to affect the individuals in that Stoney (native island) community.”
Holmes lives in the Stoney community, according to Brown and a validation of his address by The Island Packet.
Grant said Monday the community services committee will “look through our applications and choose someone else.”
The U.S. 278 corridor project is currently undergoing an environmental study, where SCDOT will assess the effects of possible alternatives on the “natural and human” surroundings, according to Craig Winn, the project manager for the department.
The town’s committee is supposed to give their insight on those effects.
Brown said he hopes the new member of the committee lives in the Stoney community because, although he is a native islander, he said he doesn’t live at the base of the Hilton Head bridge.
“I can try to put myself in their shoes, but they’re not talking about widening the road in front of my property,” he said.