Deputy widow sued after drowning during training

The widow of deputy Hodges (with him up) has sued for his death last summer

The widow of deputy Hodges (with him up) has sued for his death last summer

The widow of deputy Hodges (with him up) has sued for his death last summer

A deputy director killed during training in a South Carolina lake last summer was entangled by the ship's propeller after going overboard and drowning beneath the surface while pleading for his life, according to a lawsuit filed this week by the widow of the officer.

Devin Hodges, a second Anderson County officer, and an instructor from the US Army Corps of Engineers. UU Who was driving the boat were thrown into Lake Hartwell during a dangerous maneuver called an emergency stop.

During a training exercise on June 1, 2017, instructor Jess Fleming was not using a safety device that would have caused the boat's engine to stop when the driver was no longer behind the wheel, according to the lawsuit.

The unmanned ship turned in a "circle of death" and its propeller hit Hodges, who was 30 years old, while desperately trying to swim, according to the lawsuit.

Devin Hodges, a deputy from Anderson County (above) was killed at Lake Hartwell in South Carolina last summer, when a training instructor was demonstrating an emergency stop.

Devin Hodges, a deputy from Anderson County (above) was killed at Lake Hartwell in South Carolina last summer, when a training instructor was demonstrating an emergency stop.

Devin Hodges, a deputy from Anderson County (above) was killed at Lake Hartwell in South Carolina last summer, when a training instructor was demonstrating an emergency stop.

"When the boat took his life, the lifejacket of subordinate Hodges became entangled in the propeller," the lawyers wrote in the lawsuit. "While deputy Hodges was under water, a few centimeters from the surface, he slowly drowned."

Fleming and the other ship's officer were not injured.

The Corps of Engineers did not return a message seeking comment.

The Department of Natural Resources of South Carolina accused Fleming of a crime of reckless homicide by boat, but prosecutors withdrew the case two months after determining that the law does not allow a federal law enforcement officer to be charged with state infractions.

Fleming first made the emergency stop at half speed, and then made it closer to the maximum speed, according to the lawsuit filed on Tuesday by Hodges' widow, who simply names the United States of America as the defendant.

Fleming spent the day before discussing with deputies the importance of using the "kill switch", which is a cord that stops the boat's engine when the driver is no longer behind the wheel. But on the day of Hodges' death, Fleming did not use the cord and the kill switch was closed, the suit said.

Hodges had been working for the Anderson County Sheriff's Office for less than a year

Hodges had been working for the Anderson County Sheriff's Office for less than a year

Hodges had been working for the Anderson County Sheriff's Office for less than a year

Hodges had been working for the Anderson County Sheriff's Office for less than a year

Hodges (left and right) had been working for the Anderson County Sheriff's Office for less than a year, and was recently assigned to the marine patrol when he died.

Fleming knew that he was exposing his passengers to a potential circle of death, and yet he attempted this undue and lethal maneuver.

The consequence of their actions was predictable and resulted in one of the exact results that the death switches intend to avoid, "according to the lawsuit.

Hodges' widow filed the lawsuit after the federal authorities failed to act on the official form she filed claiming death by negligence for more than six months.

Hodges, 30, was the father of four and had worked for the Anderson County Sheriff's Office for less than a year.

The new Sheriff Chad McBride had just assigned him to the marine patrol.

McBride personally pressed the uniform in which Hodges was buried, saying that it was the least he could do for an officer who showed so much promise and dedication.

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