HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County Sheriff's Office Security Director Ralph Vaught is finally back at work after recovering from a three-vehicle crash in Conway in December.
Two people were airlifted to the hospital after the crash on Highway 701 on the night of Saturday December 21, according to the South Carolina Highway Patrol.
Security Director Ralph Vaught was driving that day and found himself in the middle of the crash. He was lifelighted, admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, and later transferred to Waccamaw Community Hospital for rehabilitation.
On Wednesday, Jan. 15, Mr. Vaught was finally allowed to go home. Sergeant Jeff Benton with the Horry County Sheriff's Office says Vaught is a close personal friend, beloved employee and coworker.
While hospitalized, Vaught suffered a close personal loss. Sergeant Benton says Vaught remains positive, "Yesterday was just great to see Ralph smile. We were expecting to pick him up around 11 o'clock. At 9 o'clock yesterday in the morning he said 'Jeff, I'm ready,'. So we sent a car to pick him up and he's home. We're happy."
Mr. Vaught has worked for Horry County for 44 years. He is currently the security director for the HCSO. Sgt. Benton says Vaught isn't able to come back to work just yet, but that they believe he will be back in no time.
Sergeant Benton says Vaught has been sorely missed by staff and people he has touched. "For somebody that's worked for Horry County for 44 years... The folks that have lived here life long know Ralph. The lady at his bank said to tell Ralph to hurry back because they miss him coming in there every Friday afternoon with his check."
"He's made a difference on a lot of people and we are just thrilled," Sgt. Benton adds. "Yesterday was a good day."
The suspect arrested after the crash, 33-year-old Neptali Perez of Conway, was charged with hit and run, too fast for conditions, driving under suspension, open container of beer/wine in vehicle, and vehicle required to be registered and licensed.
On Friday, Feb. 21, Sgt Jeff Benton said Vaught was back at work.