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‘Our community is devastated’: North Myrtle Beach officer dies in New Year’s Day crash

Updated: Jan. 1, 2021 at 6:25 PM EST
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NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – The North Myrtle Beach community is mourning the loss of an officer killed in a traffic crash early Friday morning.

Sgt. Gordon William Best was responding to a call in Barefoot Resort around 4 a.m. when he lost control of his vehicle on the wet roadway, city of North Myrtle Beach spokesperson Pat Dowling said.

Best, 30, was heading southbound on Highway 17 when he veered into the northbound lanes and collided with a utility pole, according to officials. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Holding back tears during a press briefing Friday, North Myrtle Beach Police Chief Tommy Dennis said the officer was responding to a report of shots fired.

Dennis described Best as an all-around good guy who was liked by everyone.

“He will be missed. We will take the next couple days and weeks to honor his sacrifice to this community,” Dennis said.

Best was no stranger to the city of North Myrtle Beach.

The officer’s parents both retired from the North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety, North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley noted.

“Our community is devastated. This is the first police officer we have ever lost in the history of our city,” Hatley said.

According to officials, Best started as an intern before becoming a patrol officer in October 2013. He was promoted to sergeant in February 2019.

Best is survived by his parents, his wife, Taylor, and two young children.

“We thank Horry County Police, Myrtle Beach Police, and the SC Highway Patrol for their assistance at the scene of the accident and for their valued support of Sergeant Best’s co-workers and friends behind the scenes. We ask all to pray for Sergeant Gordon Best and his family,” the North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety said on Facebook.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol Multi-Disciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) is investigating the accident.

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