Family of man with mental illness asks for inquiry on first respondents after his death

By Laura French

ORANGEBURG, SC – The parents of a mentally ill New Jersey man who was fatally hit by a car in South Carolina after EMS providers left him with a deputy sheriff, who dropped him off at a gas station, are asking the federal government to investigate whether his son’s rights were violated by the first respondents.

The parents of Paul Tarashuk Jr., 26, who died in 2018, questioned why EMS providers did not transport their son, who had schizoaffective disorder and appeared disoriented in the body camera images, according to WRDW.

Images from the body camera also show EMS providers “scolding” and “cursing” Tarashuk before leaving him with the deputy, WRDW reported.

Cindy and Paul Tarashuk Senior also questioned why the sheriff’s assistant left his son alone at a closed gas station late at night after the first respondents acknowledged that there seemed to be something wrong with him.

The South Carolina law enforcement division found no criminal offenses in Tarashuk’s death and South Carolina attorney David Pascoe said in a statement that the state’s investigation is closed. The Tarashuks are now seeking a federal investigation into whether the first respondents violated the Americans with Disabilities Act during the incident.

The family received support from US Congressman Tom Malinowski, who wrote a letter to Attorney General William Barr earlier this year asking the FBI to investigate the case.

The family also filed a civil lawsuit last year, which is ongoing.