A federal government employee now faces charges in the death of an Anderson County deputy earlier this summer.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said it has charged 37-year-old Joseph Fleming with Reckless Homicide through operation of a boat. Fleming is an Army Corps of Engineers employee who was driving during a June 1 training exercise on Lake Hartwell. One of his two passengers was 30-year-old Deputy Devin Hodges.
A DNR spokesman said, during the exercise, Fleming executed an action which caused himself, Hodges and another deputy to be thrown off the boat. The boat kept running despite no one at the helm. According to the Anderson County Coroner, Hodges drowned because his life jacket got caught in the propeller. DNR would not go into specifics about what action caused all three to be ejected into the water.
Anderson County Sheriff Chad McBride did not wish to comment beyond saying the department’s “thoughts and prayers” remain with the Hodges family and all others involved in the incident.
“The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office appreciates a long-standing relationship with both the Army Corps of Engineers and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and will continue to work together with each agency as we serve the citizens of Anderson County,” stated an emailed release from the sheriff’s spokeswoman.