To many, the overpass near Coastal Grand Mall is just an overpass. To Jeff Hancher, it tugs at his heart.
Back in 2016 he came to visit his son Jacob Hancher, who was a community service officer with the Myrtle Beach Police Department at the time. His son explained in detail how the Memorial Day traffic loop operated and to avoid it. Despite the instruction, Jeff Hancher did his own thing and got stuck in the loop for hours after seeing the overpass, knowing his son was on the city side near the mall.
“He thought it was the funniest thing in the world and I was pissed,” Jeff Hancher said.
During that same weekend, the Hancher family stayed at a hotel on 14th Avenue South and Ocean Boulevard, an area that Jacob told his father to avoid.
Four years later, on Oct. 3, 2020, then Patrolman Jacob Hancher responded to a domestic dispute that was two blocks from that hotel. He was shot and killed in the line of duty during the dispute. Jacob Hancher was 23 years old.
“We lost a lifetime of memories,” Jeff Hancher said. “We lost future grandkids. We lost future generations.”
Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune described Oct. 3, 2020 as a night the city will never forget.
“The pain and the trauma was real,” she said.
However, as the city worked to heal from tragedy, there was a sense of community in Myrtle Beach.
“The way that this community reached out to the Hancher family, to our police department and to the entire city team was just unbelievable,” Bethune said. “It’s something I’ve never witnessed.”
On Friday, that overpass was named the Patrolman Jacob Hancher Overpass. While there are other memorials across the county made in honor of Hancher, Jeff Hancher said this overpass near Coastal Grand Mall is the most special due to the connections he and his son shared.
A year after Jacob Hancher’s death, friends and family honor fallen Myrtle Beach officer
The naming of the overpass to honor Hancher is also symbolic as it was part of his beat which primarily covered the Coastal Grand Mall area, according to Master Cpl. Tom Vest of the Myrtle Beach Police Department.
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