New mayor Benjamin in car wreck this morning

I don’t know any more than this.  Looks like it happened right next to my office downtown:

Columbia mayor-elect Steve Benjamin was in a car accident this morning at the intersection of Gervais and Pickens streets, according to his spokesman.

Michael Wukela said Benjamin was on his way to early-morning media interviews when the accident happened. Wukela said Benjamin is OK, that he is “cooperating fully with police and his primary concern right now is that the woman in the other car is OK.”

Wukela could not confirm if Benjamin was driving when the accident happened.

Columbia Police officers are on the scene and investigating, said Mike King, the city’s assistant city manager for public safety. King said there are reports of an injury, but he did not have details. Attempts to reach a police spokesman were unsuccessful.

I certainly hope everyone involved is all right. People who’ve been by the scene, such as Stewart Moore and Wesley Donehue, say it looked bad.

WIS had this additional information:

Benjamin’s spokesperson, Michael Wukela, confirmed that Benjamin was driving to early morning media interviews when he was involved in a wreck at Gervais St. and Pickens St. in downtown Columbia….

George Rice with Richland County EMS said the woman in the other car was transported to Palmetto Richland. At the time, she was in fair condition.

24 thoughts on “New mayor Benjamin in car wreck this morning

  1. Walter

    Will the highway patrol investigate or will the city do an internal investigation and make up excuses for who is at fault?

  2. Kathryn Fenner

    Jeepers, Walter. You are such a breath of foul air! Can you wait until there’s an actual event (an investigation of dubious value) before you assign negative outcomes?

    We don’t know much more than that the vehicle Benjamin was in (do we even know if he was driving?) appears to have t-boned the other vehicle. We don’t know who had the right-of-way, and we don’t know what position the parties are taking. It may be totally cut-and-dried, and one or the other of the parties will admit fault and that will be that. Sheesh.

  3. Walter

    Kathryn – I’ve lived in Columbia, I speak what I see, not what you and Brad want to hear me say.

    BTW – I also am aware of you acting as a lawyer in how you view things. You side with whoever pays your salary.

  4. Walter

    Could someone help me out with a math/logistics question?

    If “Person A” is scheduled to be at the WLTX studio for their 6:00 a.m. newscast. At 5:40 a.m. “Person A” is at the corner of Pickens and Gervais. Is 20 minutes enough time to complete the 4.5 miles drive through town, park, walk into the studio, get microphoned, etc. and still be on time for his interview?

    Here’s my theory – I think Benjamin was running late, driving above the speed limit, ran a red light causing an accident involving personal injuries. I will also go out on a limb and speculate that the woman injured in the accident will never have to work as a food server once she recovers.

    And to top it off, no part of my name is “Dick” or “Tracy”.

  5. Walter

    Ha!!! People have come up with the nickname for Benjamin. Bob Coble was known as “Mayor Bob”… Steve Benjamin is being called “T-Bone”.

  6. Brad Warthen

    Walter, a woman was seriously hurt in this accident. A man who just finished a long, grueling campaign has to deal with his part in that.

    There’s nothing funny about it, for anyone.

  7. Walter

    So I’m supposed to feel sorrow for Benjamin who voluntarily put himself through this “long, grueling campaign”? Because I’m not feeling it.

    As far as the accident, save the lecture.

  8. Kathryn Fenner

    Walter–you have no idea what you are talking about–no one has paid me a salary for four years, but it IS a lawyer’s job to “side with whoever pays [the lawyer’s] salary” last I checked.

    I have never been paid by any organization with any political bent for anything. Not even a tip.

    Yes, Brad. There is absolutely nothing funny about the wreck.

  9. Susan

    Is it not obvious that Walter is one who just enjoys getting you guys worked up? Couldn’t you all ignore him when that’s his goal, and just respond to real discussion? It’s a game that is neither fun to play nor interesting to watch.

  10. Brad Warthen

    Thanks, Susan. You just clarified the issue. What you described is exactly what my civility policy is meant to avoid — letting spoilers drag the blog to where it becomes “a game that is neither fun to play nor interesting to watch.” In other words, off-putting to grownups who want a civil discussion.

    Walter is now out until he cleans up his act.

  11. Brad Warthen

    Certainly, Walter. Although if you’re looking for rules that if you adhere to by the letter and still skate by, forget it. This is very much a “spirit of the law” thing.

    And ultimately, it’s up to me to decide whether you’re making the grade, based on my bouncer role. Lots of leeway for me, not necessarily for you.

    And here is the ultimate measurement: If I think you’re discouraging other people from participating, either by being hostile to them or being hostile to others so that a reasonably dignified person reading it thinks to himself “I’m not going to comment because I’ve got better things to do with my life than get abused like that,” then you’re gone.

    And I’ll resist banning you. I’ll lean way over backward, and will probably have to be nagged into action by other participants. Sometimes you’ll see the nagging here; other times it will be by e-mail to me.

    For elaboration, here are several links to previous discussions of civility. You’ll see that I’ve tried a lot of rules, and in the end just had to start relying on my own judgment, employing something like the “I know it when I see it” definition of obscenity:

    Bottom line, it’s not a statutory system, or even constitutional. It’s precedent-based.

    Oh, yeah, one more tip to keep in mind: I allow you a LOT more leeway if you use your real, full name. But even then, I have my limit.

    And I generally take it comment by comment. But in some cases, I’ve banned people permanently.

  12. Kathryn Fenner


    I think Mayor Bob himself may have come up with it–at any rate, he really liked it, by all reports. There was a Mayor Bob bobblehead given out the local baseball team games once,and I coveted one.

    I think perhaps because it was the sort of Mr. Rogers, Howdy Doody, Capt. Kangaroo kind of retro name that it appealed.

  13. Brad Warthen

    Yeah, Burl, if you knew him, you would understand just how perfect the name is.

    Jeff Wilkinson has one of those awesome dolls, and yes, I covet it. I do not covet his maidservant, and certainly not his ass, but I do covet his Mayor Bobblehead…

    I don’t think the mayor himself started it. A year or two ago, I was talking to someone who did claim to have started it, and the story sounded plausible, but I can’t recall who it was…

  14. Kathryn Fenner

    Ooooh, a Brad Warthen bobblehead! Merchandising opportunity!

    and a reusuable travel coffee cup! So green for EARTH DAY! (and then you wouldn’t have to post photos showing not one, but two disposable cups! Shame shame shame)

  15. Burl Burlingame

    We’ve got Barack Obama in Hawaii bobbleheads all over the office. He’s playing uke and has a loud aloha shirt on. Big market here for them, Japanese tourists buy them as souvenirs and militia types use them on the firing range.

  16. Kathryn Fenner

    Some of those look non-bobbling. Stationary bobble-head type action figures–I like the surfboard Obama.


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