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Community mourns sudden loss of school resource officer

Deputy Rob Evans worked for KCSO for 14 years

Posted: November 27, 2013 4:12 p.m.
Updated: November 29, 2013 5:00 a.m.

A 14-year Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) veteran deputy died Wednesday after suffering a heart attack while directing traffic at Wateree Elementary School (WES) Tuesday afternoon.

Deputy Rob Evans, 50, who served as a school resource officer (SRO), died early Wednesday morning at Columbia’s Providence Hospital. EMS, escorted by members of law enforcement, transported Evans to Columbia after being stabilized at KershawHealth.

Evans collapsed and struck his head on the pavement while directing afternoon traffic at WES Tuesday, according to a KCSO press release. Two nurses who were picking up their children at the school, saw him fall and immediately administered CPR. Lugoff Fire Department Chief Dennis Ray, who was also in line to pick up his child, tried to assist Evans and called the fire department for help.

Lugoff firefighters used a portable defibrillator in addition to CPR to revive Evans before EMS arrived and while on the way to KershawHealth’s emergency department. Emergency personnel there stabilized Evans, and made arrangements to send him to Providence in downtown Columbia.

KCSO and Camden Police Department (CPD) escorted emergency medical service allowing them to transport Evans “as quickly and safely as possible,” Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews said in the press release. The Columbia Police Department also worked to block intersections on the drive to Providence, Matthews said.

CPD Chief Joe Floyd said weather conditions prevented a helicopter crew from flying Evans to Providence.

Providence physicians were able to help address some of the issues said to have caused the heart attack, while trying to determine the extent of Evan’s head injuries, Matthews said. Although Evans initially showed improvement, personnel placed him in intensive care before he passed away Wednesday morning.

Matthews said Evans’ legacy will live on, calling him “a compassionate man.” Matthews praised the two unidentified nurses who helped Evans after he fell, the Lugoff firefighters who assisted him, in addition to all the other medical staff who assisted Evans.

“I don’t know who they were, but the two nurses who immediately ran to Deputy Evans’ aid were instrumental in keeping him alive from the outset,” Matthews said in the press release. “The two Lugoff firefighters who continued CPR for nearly 30 minutes while at the scene deserve considerable praise. The medical staff at KershawHealth and at Providence were outstanding and compassionate and they did everything humanly possible to save the life of Deputy Evans.

“However, God had other plans….

Matthews said that although the outcome wasn’t what he and Evans’ fellow deputies wanted, the efforts to save him were “outstanding in all respects.”

“I cannot thank every single person involved in this incident enough. He had a great love for the students he worked with and was very well respected by school officials for the manner in which he interacted with students and staff,” Matthew said.

Evans had been an SRO at Lugoff-Elgin Middle School (L-EMS) for seven years. He directed traffic there for several years, but only started directing traffic at WES this year, Kershaw County School District Director of Communications Mary Anne Byrd said. Evans was the “Voice of the Demons,” acting as L-EMS’ football announcer and doing play-by-plays; he was also the school’s assistant basketball coach, according to the KCSO press release. Evans spearheaded the STARS summer camp for middle school children too, Matthews said. The camp taught children how to respect others, the importance of community service and gave them glimpses of law enforcement procedures, he said. 

Byrd said she worked with Evans since she became president of L-EMS’s Parent-Teacher Organization in 2009. Evans was passionate about the well being of all students, she said.

“An example of (his passion) was his work with the PTO to bring the Rachel’s Challenge program to L-EMS after learning about it from a neighboring school district,” Byrd said. “He realized the impact that the program’s positive message would have not just for L-EMS students, but for the whole community who was invited to participate. Today, L-EMS continues to sponsor the Friends of Rachel (FOR) club, an outgrowth of this effort to treat others with kindness. This is Rob’s legacy.”

ALPHA Center Prevention Specialist Tina Griggs said L-EMS students looked to Evans as a father figure.  Evans worked with the ALPHA Center’s “Too Good for Drugs, Too Good for Violence” program and was always spreading the message about the importance of being drug free, Griggs said. Evans spread kindness and was an advocate for the underdog, she said.

“He was an anti-bullying champion and great, great person,” Griggs said. “He directed traffic better than anyone. Whenever there was a back up, we knew that Rob wasn’t there. He was compassionate and had a heart of gold.”

Evans was also very active at his church, Lugoff First Baptist, where Griggs is also a member.

L-EMS Principal Karen Bullard said Evans definitely acted as a father figure to many of the children at the middle school.

“Which was exactly what they needed,” Bullard said. “At the middle school age it’s important that kids have relationships with adults and Evans served as that person. He could often be found in the lunch room talking to kids. He was a great staff member who cared about the day-to-day lives of the students.”

Bullard said that in addition to sports duties, Evans taught classes on character at L-EMS

“He would love them when they needed it and correct them when they made mistake,” she said. “He touched so many lives in our community. He was a face of Lugoff-Elgin Middle School. He was well-respected and loved.”

Evans leaves behind a wife and two teenage children.

 

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