Prosecutors indicated Tuesday they have dropped charges against an Army Corps of Engineers employee at the helm of a boating incident which killed an Anderson County deputy earlier this year.
The 11th Circuit Solicitors Office released a letter it sent to the presiding judge in the case of Joseph Fleming, who was charged with reckless homicide through operation of a boat. Investigators said Fleming was operating the boat as part of a June 1 training exercise on Lake Hartwell when he executed a maneuver that ejected himself and two deputies overboard. One of the deputies 30-year-old Devin Hodges drowned after his life jacket got caught in the boat’s moving motor, according to the Anderson County Coroner’s Office at the time.
The letter stated prosecutors could not proceed with the case due to concerns of the Constitution’s “Supremacy Clause.” The clause bans states from charging federal employees with state law violations if the violation occurs as part of the employee’s job duties.
Fleming’s attorney confirmed receiving the letter, according to Fox Carolina in Greenville.
DNR investigators, who charged Fleming last month, have said Fleming did not have a cord connected to his life jacket that would “kill” the engine should he suddenly fall overboard while driving. As a result, the boat continued operating after its three passengers were ejected.