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Driver fired, accused of shopping as disabled riders waited

Aug 24, 2010 6:38:00 AM - thestate.com
The driver who left people with disabilities in a van while she shopped for a dress at a Hilton Head Island department store last week was fired Monday by the Jasper County Board of Disabilities and Special Needs.

The driver, who had been on administrative leave since Thursday's incident, broke the board's policy, which allows caregivers to briefly leave their charges only in emergencies, executive director Deborah Walsh said.

"It is unacceptable to leave consumers unattended in a vehicle to shop," Walsh said. "They shouldn't be unattended for any reason except an emergency."

The driver, a 47-year-old Ridgeland woman who had worked for the board for 23 years, could not be reached for comment Monday. She has not been charged with a crime. The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette typically do not name people in police reports unless they have been charged with a felony.

The driver left the van's motor running while she went into the Mall at Shelter Cove to look at a dress and go to the restroom, she told Beaufort County sheriff's deputies Thursday after they were summoned by a bystander.

USA, South Carolina: (Latest Stories)