Sgt. Derek El Dada (Image: Richland County Sheriff's Dept.)
Saluda County, SC (WLTX) -- Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott confirms that one of his officers died in a collision between a motorcycle and a car in Saluda County.
Lott spoke at a news conference Thursday afternoon, where he said that Sgt. Derek El Dada and wife, Leigh, were killed in the accident.
"Today is one of those days that you dread," Lott said.
State troopers say at approximately 9:40 p.m. Wednesday night El Dada and his wife were riding a 2009 Harley Davidson headed southbound on SC 391 near Hutto Island Road in Saluda County.
Lott says the two were riding with another friend when the incident took place.
According to Highway Patrolman Bob Beres, a 2008 Chevy Malibu traveling northbound on SC 391 left the right side of the road, over-corrected and crossed the center line, striking the Harley Davidson head-on.
Sgt. El Dada was pronounced dead at the scene. His wife was airlifted to Palmetto Richland hospital, where she later passed away.
The driver of the Malibu has been charged with driving under suspension; however, troopers say he has not been charged in relation to the accident itself. The South Carolina Highway Patrol continues to investigate.
Lott calls El Dada a "very good officer" who had served with his department for nine years, mostly recently in the Dutch Fork Region. He previously worked for the Forest Acres Police Department.
Lott said El Dada had been to work earlier on Wednesday, and was scheduled in to work on Thursday morning.
The couple had two teenage daughters. Flags at the Richland County Sheriff's Department are at half-staff in tribute to El Dada.
Tragically, his death comes on the one-year anniversary of the death of Ryan Rawl, the Richland County deputy who died while serving in Afghanistan.
"We'll work through this," Lott said.