Monday, July 15, 2024

EMS instructor committed suicide after alleging that BCSO deputies destroyed a man’s car in an illegal pit maneuver case

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An EMS instructor from North Carolina, who also volunteered with Civietown Fire and Rescue for three decades, tragically took his own life after providing a sworn statement in a lawsuit against the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office regarding the death of 21-year-old Tyrance “Duke” Benbow.

Tyrance "Duke" Benbow
Tyrance “Duke” Benbow

Following the lawsuit filed by Benbow’s mother, Becky Lasalle, accusing the department of pursuing and killing her son on the night of July 8, 2022, her lawyer, Ira Braswell of Braswell Law in Louisburg, North Carolina, asserted that the department has been attempting to conceal the events of that night when they allegedly employed an unlawful pit maneuver on Benbow.

“I’m going to hang you”

In a federal lawsuit filed in March 2023, it was revealed that during a court appearance on July 6, 2022, Benbow faced two misdemeanor charges in Brunswick County District Court. Fortunately, both charges were dismissed that very day. However, as Benbow was leaving the courtroom, Deputy Alexander Melvin, one of the defendants in the lawsuit, was overheard by two witnesses making a chilling statement to Benbow: “I’m going to hang you.”

This menacing threat understandably left Benbow feeling unsafe, prompting him to take precautions whenever he ventured outside. As a result, he made sure to have a friend or family member accompany him or follow him whenever he drove to or from his home, as detailed in the lawsuit.

Tyrance “Duke” Benbow calls family friend to follow him home

On Friday, July 8, 2022, according to the lawsuit, Benbow contacted a family friend named Deatrice Gore and requested her to meet him on Freedom’s Star Road to accompany him home. At around 6:45 p.m., Ms. Gore, along with her fiancé, Tremaine Thomas, met Benbow. While en route to Benbow’s residence, they made a stop at a Circle K for gas.

Upon leaving the store, Ms. Gore and her fiancé followed Benbow, with Deputy Keith Bowling and two additional drug units in unmarked vehicles trailing behind. The group followed Benbow for about 5 miles from the Circle K. During the drive, two more deputies, Sgt. Josh Davies in a white Infiniti, and Deputy Phillip Davis in a silver Dodge truck, pulled over Ms. Gore’s vehicle, citing the alleged scent of marijuana coming from her car as they passed her in the opposite lane, as per the lawsuit.

Attorney Braswell said in the lawsuit:

“Benbow proceeded through the intersection while being followed, at less than a car length, by the unmarked white Chrysler 300 driven by Bowling. When Benbow turned right onto Red Bug Road, Deputies Alexander Melvin (Blk./Blu Nissan S.U.V.) and Johnnie Benton (Grey Chevy 4×4 truck) joined Bowling. An eyewitness (Chad Beasley) traveling on Red Bug Road towards Cardinal Pointe off Highway 17 stated, “The three (3) undercover cars were ‘bumper-to-bumper’ behind Benbow’s vehicle.

Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office illegal PIT maneuver 

As per the lawsuit details, Deputy Bowling, in a white Chrysler 300, was observed making contact with Benbow’s vehicle. When Benbow was nearing the intersection of Red Bug Road and Holden Beach Road, Deputy Melvin radioed to intercept Benbow before he reached Seashore, his mother’s residence.

Deputy Keith Bowling
Deputy Keith Bowling

Recordings from the dispatcher indicated that within seven seconds of Deputy Melvin’s directive to stop Benbow before Seashore, Bowling intentionally performed a PIT maneuver on Benbow, resulting in his death and causing serious injuries to five innocent bystanders. Notably, the lawsuit highlights that Bowling, Melvin, and Benton lacked the necessary training or certification to execute a PIT maneuver.

In an attempt to defend their actions, the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office alleged that Benbow veered off the road shoulder, overcorrected, and collided head-on with another vehicle. However, the driver of the other vehicle contradicted the department’s account. According to Eddys Arias, a motorist in the car Benbow was pushed into, stated in a sworn statement, “Benbow’s black car slowed down for the grey SUV, and it was then that the white Chrysler 300 rear-ended Benbow’s car, causing it to flip head-on into my vehicle.”

In a statement provided to the N.C. Highway Patrol, Mr. Arias informed Trooper J.E. Aguilar-Noyola that the white car collided with the black car, causing the black car to lose control, as detailed in the lawsuit. Mr. Arias, accompanied by his wife and their three minor children, also mentioned to the trooper that he did not witness Benbow’s vehicle veering out of its lane or driving on the highway shoulder, contrary to the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office’s claims.

Mr. Arias clarified that Benbow was in his designated lane when Bowling’s vehicle struck his car, leading to the collision with them. He concluded by attributing the accident to the police’s actions.

NCSHP helps Brunswick County Sheriff’s Deputies cover up killing Tyrance “Duke” Benbow 

Upon arrival at the scene for investigation, the North Carolina Highway Patrol reportedly did not secure the area, allowing individuals to leave the accident site, as mentioned in the lawsuit.

Attorney Braswell highlighted that the NCSHP did not conduct an accident reconstruction to determine the details surrounding Bowling’s negligent PIT maneuver and its fatal outcomes. Additionally, the N.C. Highway Patrol allowed Major Stephen Lanier and Sergeant Michael Murray from the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office to access the scene, where they proceeded to search through the crash site and instructed deputy Timothy McCall to use the “jaws of life” to dismantle the passenger compartment, including the dashboard and data recorder in Benbow’s vehicle.

Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office claims Benbow had cocaine traveling back from South Carolina

The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office stated that they were monitoring Benbow due to information suggesting he was transporting a large quantity of cocaine from South Carolina to Brunswick County. They alleged that Benbow, who they described as a drug dealer, had 77.1 grams of cocaine in his possession at the time of his death, although they did not provide evidence of the drugs. The sheriff’s office asserted that they were tracking Benbow in order to apprehend him, as they believed he was in possession of cocaine.

According to the department’s legal representatives, Benbow was driving at a speed exceeding 100 mph when he collided with Mr. Arias and his family. However, Mr. Arias contradicted this assertion in his sworn statement.

“The wreck occurred because of the decedent’s extremely dangerous driving, which caused him to run off the road, overturn, and collide with the car coming the other way,” the BCSO in stated in their reply to the federal lawsuit brought by Benbow’s mother, Becky Lasalle.

The sheriff’s department’s reply to the lawsuit mentions that their deputies made efforts to save Benbow’s life by providing assistance after removing him from under his car. However, Lieutenant Denver Stanley from Civietown Volunteer Fire and Rescue recalled arriving at the scene and seeing Benbow lying partially outside his vehicle. He initially believed Benbow was deceased as no emergency aid was being administered.

“I assumed Mr. Benbow was dead because no emergency personnel were rendering aid, and BCSO drug agents were just standing around not doing anything.” “It was not until I headed towards Benbow that I heard Chief Hewett shout; he’s alive; get me some help over here.” “I could hear Mr. Benbow making sounds,” LT. Stanley said in a recorded statement.

No drugs were discovered in Benbow’s vehicle, in the vicinity of his vehicle, or on his person. The sheriff’s department has not provided any evidence of drugs that may have been a factor in the events leading to Benbow’s tragic death on the evening of July 8, 2022.

EMS instructor with 30 years of experience said Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office intentionally destroyed Benbow’s car to prevent a reconstruction

Images taken after the collision on the night of July 8, 2022, display the damage to Benbow’s car. Please refer to the photos below for a visual representation.

Benbow's post-collision July 8, 2022.
Benbow’s post-collision July 8, 2022.

David Robinson, an EMS instructor with more than three decades of experience, provided a sworn statement detailing an incident on July 8, 2022, at approximately 8:30 p.m. He reported seeing “Tim McCall” entering the fire station and taking the jaws of life before heading to the Benbow crash site. Upon arrival, he observed Major Steve Lanier and Sergeant Michael Murphy from the BCSO managing the scene.

David Robinson
David Robinson

Robinson noted the presence of NCSHP members at the site, conducting measurements but not searching Benbow’s vehicle. With his extensive background as an EMS instructor and volunteer at Civietown Fire and Rescue, Robinson mentioned his familiarity with the appearance and toxicology of substances like marijuana, heroin, powder cocaine, and crack cocaine.

In his sworn statement, he stated that he did not witness any drugs in or around Benbow’s vehicle. He mentioned that Major Lanier and Sgt. Murphy searched Benbow’s car for 35-40 minutes after he was taken to the hospital. Major Lanier then directed Tim McCall to use the “jaws of life” on the roof and interior of Benbow’s vehicle to look for drugs. 

 “I saw Mr. McCall intentionally use the “jaws of life” to “tear up” Benbow’s car, and I never saw any drugs removed from it,” Robinson said in his affidavit.

Robinson, an experienced EMS instructor and long-time volunteer with Civietown Fire and Rescue, mentioned that in his thirty years of service, he has never witnessed the “jaws of life” being used to search for drugs. The extensive damage to Benbow’s vehicle caused by the BCSO has made it challenging to reconstruct the accident accurately due to the compromised state of Benbow’s car.

Images taken shows Benbow’s car after jaws of life were used. Please refer to the photos below for a visual representation.

Benbow's post-collision comparison.
Benbow’s post-collision comparison.
Benbow's post-collision comparison.
Benbow’s post-collision comparison.

READ ROBINSON’S AFFIDAVIT BELOW:

David Robinson's sworn affidavit.
David Robinson’s sworn affidavit.
David Robinson's sworn affidavit.
David Robinson’s sworn affidavit.
David Robinson's sworn affidavit.
David Robinson’s sworn affidavit.

The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Department did not clear the accident scene until midnight, while the NCSHP completed the clearance by 9:00 p.m.

The lawsuit also alleges that the NCSHP failed to intervene as Maj. Lanier, Sgt. Murphy, and Tim McCall used the “jaws of life” to dismantle Benbow’s car, resulting in the destruction of crucial evidence.

Following the submission of Robinson’s affidavit in a sanctions motion by Ira Braswell on February 26, 2024, it was reported that Robinson had tragically taken his own life.

Braswell is seeking a default judgment against the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office for their role in using the “jaws of life” on Benbow’s car, which is considered spoliation. Spoliation involves the destruction or alteration of evidence, or the failure to preserve property for use as evidence in ongoing or anticipated legal proceedings, among other claims.

In September 2022, Jon David, the district attorney overseeing Brunswick, Bladen, and Columbus counties, announced that the deputies responsible for the accident would not face charges.

1 COMMENT

  1. These cops have harassed me my whole life because I got into trouble back in 2004 they pull me and search me for hours and destroy my car, it’s time this county is held responsible for once !!!

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Gerald Jackson
Gerald Jacksonhttps://www.instagram.com/iiamgj/
Hi, my name is Gerald Jackson and I am 28-years-old. I was born and raised in Troy, Alabama. I currently reside in North Carolina. I am a Journalist, Influencer, Content Creator, and a Man of Faith! I don't shy away from the truth, always speak my mind, and before I take anything back, I'll add more to it. Follow me on my social media below to keep up with my personal life. LOL!

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