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Family of mentally ill man calls for inquiry into first responders after his death

The parents of Paul Tarashuk, who was fatally hit by a car after being left at a gas station by police, want the federal government to investigate possible ADA violations

By Laura French

ORANGEBURG, S.C. — The parents of a mentally ill New Jersey man who was fatally struck by a car in South Carolina after EMS providers left him with a sheriff’s deputy, who then dropped him off at a gas station, are calling for the federal government to investigate whether their son’s rights were violated by first responders.

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 in body camera footage to be disoriented, to the hospital, according to WRDW.

Body camera footage also shows the EMS providers “berating” and “cursing at” Tarashuk before leaving him with the deputy, WRDW reported.

Cindy and Paul Tarashuk Sr. also questioned why the sheriff’s deputy then dropped their son off alone at a closed gas station late at night after first responders acknowledged there seemed to be something wrong with him.

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

The family has received support from U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski, who wrote a letter to Attorney General William Barr earlier this year requesting that the FBI look into the case.

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