City council member accused of fraud in South Carolina wrongful death lawsuit
A recent wrongful death lawsuit filed in South Carolina alleges that a city council member committed fraud to disguise his involvement in a fatal crash. According to the Anderson Independent Mail, Eddie Moore is being sued by the family of 70 year-old Elizabeth Walsh, who died in 2010. The lawsuit was initially filed in August 2011, but it was recently amended to include new allegations of fraud against Moore.
On the evening of November 4, 2010, police say Walsh had been shopping at Quality Foods. When the accident occurred, she was walking along a four lane road in Anderson, trying to push a full cart of groceries back to her home. She was approximately 100 yards away from her house when she was struck by at least three vehicles in succession.
The driver of the first vehicle to strike Walsh - Jesse Oliver, driving a Toyota - later pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol. However, Oliver was not charged with a felony. At the time, the prosecutor said there wasn't enough evidence to warrant a felony DUI charge. "It's not enough that you are involved in an accident where you caused great bodily injury or death," said Jennings Byford in a 2010 interview with WYFF 4. "You also have to be at fault in the accident. You have to cause the accident that resulted in great bodily injury or death. If you're driving around under the influence and you're involved in an accident where you weren't at fault, you would only be charged with a regular DUI. "
Byford said Walsh was walking in the roadway when she was hit, and that she was wearing dark colored clothing. The accident happened at around 7:30 p.m.
The second vehicle to hit Walsh was a Lincoln Navigator driven by Moore, who "said that he did not see the pedestrian and the Toyota collide, but saw the pedestrian lying in the road just before he struck her and he swerved to try to miss the pedestrian," reports the South Carolina Highway Patrol. "[Moore] stated that his attention was pulled away by a van off the shoulder of the road that appeared to be stuck."
A third vehicle - a Grand Prix, driven by Tony William Kelley - also struck Walsh, dragging her body nearly 100 feet. The Grand Prix was rear-ended by a fourth vehicle.
After the crash, Moore allegedly washed his vehicle and then then took it to a mechanic. The mechanic then signed an affidavit that said there was no evidence to suggest Moore's Navigator had made contact with anything that day. However, the mechanic says Moore did not tell him about the accident or that the vehicle had been cleaned recently - Moore reportedly just said he might have run over a shopping cart. And troopers found both blood and tissue on Moore's vehicle at the scene of the crash. The mechanic recently withdrew his statement about the Navigator.
The amended wrongful death claim filed by Walsh's family says that Moore took the following actions:
• "provided false information about the condition of his vehicle directly after the wreck";
• "provided false information...in an effort to further perpetuate the fraud"; and
• "tried [to] induce a witness to give statements under false pretenses".
Moore's attorney says Moore is not liable for the crash. The insurance companies representing Oliver and Kelley have already settled with Walsh's family in civil court. An autopsy could not conclusively determine which vehicle caused Walsh's death.