S.C. deputy shoots fugitive after manhunt

The Post and Courier 

RIDGEVILLE, S.C. - A Dorchester County deputy shot a man Thursday several hours after he and four passengers bailed out of a car authorities said was reported stolen.

The Sheriff's Office didn't identify the deputy or the wounded man, who was in stable condition at Medical University Hospital, First Sgt. Mike Miller said.

Deputies had chased the car at speeds up to 80 mph from Berkeley County to Ridgeville. At one point, the driver of a white Crown Victoria was going the wrong way on Interstate 26, Berkeley sheriff's Capt. Anthony Phyall said.

The chase ended when the driver lost control on U.S. Highway 78 and everyone jumped out and ran, Phyall said. Four of the people in the car, two women and two men, were caught quickly, but the driver escaped.

Police dogs, an airplane, deputies, Summerville police and state troopers searched the area where Orangeburg Road crosses the railroad tracks between Jedburg and Ridgeville, but called off the hunt around 11 a.m. Phyall said it had gotten too windy for the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office airplane to fly, and deputies had enough information on the fugitive to later locate him.

A Dorchester County deputy encountered the suspect around 1 p.m. on Lucille Road near Red Hill Road. Residents in the area said the man threw up his hands, then took off running, and they heard two gunshots.

The Sheriff's Office is not releasing details of the shooting. Sheriff Ray Nash said the deputy was confronted by "a known violent individual," and the shooting appears to be justified. The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating.

The names of the other four people in the car weren't released Thursday night. Phyall said deputies were still interviewing them and verifying their names.

The car they were in was reported stolen last week from North Charleston, he said. The owner's daughter spotted it shortly after 8 a.m. Thursday around U.S. 17A at U.S. 176, Phyall said. A deputy tried to stop the car, but the driver sped toward Summerville and got on I-26, he said.

Leta Davenport of Sweetgrass Photography Services in Summerville and Joni Badgett were on I-26 and said the car blew past them, followed by a patrol car.

They said they thought the Crown Victoria was an unmarked police car until the driver slammed on the brakes and did a doughnut under the overpass. Davenport said it looked like the car might have hit the patrol car. She said the deputy ran and opened the rear passenger door of the Crown Victoria, but the car pulled off and went east against traffic. The car cut in front of westbound traffic and Davenport's car to get off at the Jedburg Road exit, she said. She saw a woman sitting by the rear passenger window.

"They were getting the ride of their lives, I'm telling you," she said.

Copyright 2007 The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC)

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