‘He would be humbled’: Florence County highway renamed to honor fallen SCHP trooper | SCDPS Skip to main content
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‘He would be humbled’: Florence County highway renamed to honor fallen SCHP trooper

Fri, 01/26/2024

Sergeant Mobley portrait

Dwight Mobley knew his dad served in the Marines. That he was a well-known patrolman with the SC Highway Patrol for 21 years. And that he would do anything for his family. What he didn’t know until after his father was tragically killed in the line of duty was just how many lives he touched, keeping his deeds cloaked in a veil of humility.

“Some of the things he did, he preferred to do discretely,” Dwight Mobley said of his father, SC Highway Patrol Sergeant Robert Mobley. “After I found out several of these things, it really gave me a new perspective of my dad.”

Sergeant Mobley was gunned down during a traffic stop in Florence County in July 1979. On Friday, nearly 45 years later, the state of South Carolina dedicated a portion of SC-51 in Florence County to his memory, renaming it the “Sgt. Robert A. Mobley Highway.”

Dwight Mobley, who is a minister and the assistant chief of the West Florence Fire Department, was on hand for the highway dedication along with several other relatives.

“Dad was always a pretty tough guy, but I knew he had a good heart because I have heard many, many stories about how my dad helped people out,” he said. “That tells you a lot about a man’s character. He wasn’t one that sought attention, so he would be humbled but grateful.”

Sergeant Mobley enjoyed working on cars, and even had a paint and body shop in Greenwood, his family says. But his passion was in serving others. After serving with the U.S. Marine Corps in China following World War II, he joined the Highway Patrol in 1958 and was first assigned to Anderson County. He was later promoted to Corporal and transferred to Florence County.

“He was an individual that was very helpful to people,” said Colonel James Caulder, who was a supervisor when he worked with Mobley in District 5, but later became the commander of the Highway Patrol from 1994 to 1998. “He knew all kinds of people in Florence County. He was a good patrolman. He always came to work, always neat, and he was well liked.”

Being a patrolman was not just a job to him; it was a longtime aspiration, said Dwight Mobley, who added that his dad often worked other side jobs in order to take care of his family while still pursuing his passion. But when he returned home from a shift, Sergeant Mobley was deliberate in not sharing details from his day — good or bad — with his family.

“He never came home and told us, ‘I did this’ or ‘I did that,’” Dwight Mobley said. “He always kept it to himself, so it was a selfless act.”

When Sergeant Mobley died, the Highway Patrol and Florence County lost a beloved patrolman and public servant. His family lost a husband, father, friend, and confidant.

“Dad was always there to help,” Dwight Mobley recalled. “Dad was always there to give me guidance and advice, and all of that was gone at the age of 26. My brothers were even younger.”

After his father died, Dwight Mobley and his brothers encountered people with stories of how Sergeant Mobley had an impact on their life.

“People tell me, ‘I remember your dad stopped me. I was speeding, and I was completely at fault,’” Dwight Mobley said. “He reprimanded me, but he gave me a second chance.”

Dwight’s brother, Ralph Mobley, was a trooper on the Highway Patrol at the time of their father’s murder. He went on to become Colonel of the Highway Patrol in 1999, a position he held until 2001. Though Colonel Mobley passed away in 2018, he noted during an interview with The State newspaper in 1999 that he became the patrol’s commander at the same age his father was when he was killed.

“I realized my daddy died doing what he wanted to do, doing what he thought was right,” Colonel Mobley was quoted saying. “I never heard my daddy say anything bad about the patrol.”

In the years since his passing, Dwight Mobley has learned of other ways his father served, including quietly raising money for Dwight’s high school band. Friday’s dedication is the latest posthumous honor for Sergeant Mobley, who was inducted into the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Hall of Fame in 1986. Additionally, the Troop 5 headquarters in Florence was named in his honor in 1993.

Dwight Mobley said the highway dedication — despite his dad’s efforts to avoid praise or attention — was a well-deserved acknowledgement of his service.

“It really touches my heart that, even after all these years, people still have a compassion and a love for my dad,” he said. “We’re not all called to be pastors or teachers. But my dad, I believe, was called to be a servant for the Lord. And he did that in many ways.”

Read more from the press release: https://scdps.sc.gov/news/2024/012924

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