The Tarashuk family has set up a Facebook page to bring attention to their son, Paul Tarashuk’s case. 26-year-old Paul was hit by a car along a highway in Orangeburg County, South Carolina. Prior to his death, EMT refused to transport him, and when a sheriff deputy arrived to assist, he dropped the man off at a closed gas station 15 miles away.
Paul Tarashuk had schizoaffective disorder and suffered from delusions and hallucinations. One night, last September, he had a psychotic breakdown while traveling along the highway.
A trucker, parked alongside the highway, saw Tarashuk walking toward him, naked and drove off. However, as the trucker continued driving down the interstate, he realized Tarashuk was riding on the back of his truck and called 911.
Law enforcement from three different agencies responded, including Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Deputy Clifford Doroski. His body camera recorded what happened when EMS arrived.
They asked Tarashuk if he spoke English, but he didn’t answer, as the first responders spoke harshly to him. “I’m being f***ing serious. I’m sleepy. Give me your damn name so I can go home for real. I’m tired,” one first responder said. They then shoved an ammonia capsule up his nose, to which he didn’t flinch.
Due to his non-responsiveness, the EMT gave Tarashuk the option of hospital or jail, to which Deputy Doroski chimed in and volunteered to take him someplace “safe.” The deputy drove 15 miles to a closed gas station near the county line, released Tarashuk and left him alone as seen in surveillance video from outside the gas station. The footage captured the last time he was seen alive, walking away with no shoes, no phone, and unaware of his surroundings.
Tarashuk ended up wandering back to the same highway, where he was hit by a car. Five hours later, the same EMT crew was called back for Tarashuk again, but this time, he was dead. “If I’d have known that he was just going to drop him off, we’d have just took him to the hospital and dropped him there,” one of the first responders reportedly said.
A toxicology report from the Orangeburg County Coroner’s office came up clean for Tarashuk. Deputy Clifford Doroski is still in uniform and so is one of the EMT workers. After a state investigation, the other EMT worker was fired.
State Senator Katrina Shealy said, “I think there needs to be a better investigation into what happened. I mean we can see it on the video. I think somebody, you know, needs to explain to them why it happened, which they haven’t.”
On Wednesday, the family filed a civil suit against the department and the individuals involved.