Speeding Officer Not Placed on Leave After SC Fatal Wreck

June 7, 2021

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — A Greenville Police officer who was going nearly twice the speed limit without his lights and siren on when he crashed into another car and killed a woman was not placed on leave while the crash was investigated.

Officer Eric Koepke was found at fault in the wreck and cited for driving too fast for conditions, according to a South Carolina Highway Patrol report on the crash obtained by The Greenville News.

Only after the ticket was issued 10 weeks following the wreck did Greenville Police start an internal investigation into Koepke, officials said.

Not putting Koepke on leave while the wreck was investigated was a mistake and city policy has been changed, Greenville Police Chief Howie Thompson told the newspaper.

“Since that time, I have redone our policy on officer involved incidents including accidents,” Thompson said “We did not have clear cut guidelines of how we should do that.”

Koepke was responding to a report from a license plate reader about a possible stolen car when the wreck happened Nov. 23.

Koepke was driving 83 mph (134 kph) in a 45 mph (72 kph) zone without his lights and siren on when he hit 76-year-old Isabel Folwell as she tried to turn left into a private driveway.

Folwell was dead in her car. Koepke and his police dog were injured, but recovered.

Greenville paid Folwell’s family a death settlement of $25,000, according to court records.

Koepke has been a Greenville police officer for 13 years. He refused to talk about the wreck when the newspaper called him.

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