Deputy, wife die in motorcycle crash
SALUDA COUNTY (WIS) - The flags are flying half-staff at the Richland County Sheriff's Department after a deputy and his wife were killed late Wednesday night in an accident in Saluda County.
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said 45-year-old Derek El Dada and his wife, Leigh El Dada, died after the motorcycle they were riding on was hit by a car.
"Today's one of those days that you dread," said a visibly shaken Lott as he delivered the news Thursday morning.
According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the collision happened on South Carolina 391 near Hutto Island Road.
Troopers say the driver of a northbound 2008 Chevy Malibu ran off the right side of the roadway, overcorrected, crossed the center line and collided with a southbound 2009 Harley Davidson motorcycle.
Lott said El Dada and his wife were out riding with an old high school friend when the accident occurred.
"He had a high school friend that came by to visit," said Lott. "They rode motorcycles so they just went riding, just for a night ride."
El Dada died at the scene. Leigh was airlifted to Palmetto Health Richland Hospital where she later died.
Troopers did not say if anybody traveling in the car was injured.
Lott said El Dada, 45, had been with the department for nine years. He was assigned to the Dutch Fork region and was in charge of 12 people there. He had previously worked with the Forest Acres Police Department for five years.
"He worked very closely with them," said Lott. "Needless to say, we had a lot of crying people this morning."
"The two squads he was responsible for probably won't come back until next week. We've got counseling that we're doing for all of them. We're trying to work through this, and we will work through this."
He and his wife leave behind two teen daughters.
No charges have been filed.
The Highway Patrol is investigating.
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