Columbia Mayor-elect Steve Benjamin has asked City of Columbia Police officials to allow another law enforcement agency to participate in the investigation of a car accident he was involved in early Wednesday morning while he was on his way to a media interview. Benjamin has asked for more eyes to take a look at the case to remove any appearance of favoritism. Benjamin was checked out by EMS personnel at the scene of the accident. The Highway Patrol determined that Benjamin was not impaired. The driver of the other vehicle, 61 year old Deborah Rubens, was on her way to work at a downtown hotel. She was transported to a nearby hospital. Early reports said that Rubens was in fair condition, however WIS-TV is reporting that despite that initial assessment, sources say Rubens has been unconscious since the crash. She reportedly has head trauma, a crushed pelvis, and other injuries and that doctors have told the family if she survive she may not walk again.
A police spokesman says it could be days or weeks before the investigation is done. But various media outlets are reporting one law enforcement source who stated that Benjamin’s SUV did not have its headlights on shortly before the 5:45 a.m. collision. A spokesman for Benjamin says – no comment until the investigation is complete.
The accident occurred only hours after Benjamin was elected Columbia’s first black mayor and the city’s first new mayor in 20 years.