Sheriff’s Office says deputy is not at fault for death in vehicle chase

It started on Saturday, March 5th when an off-duty Sheriff’s deputy noticed what looked like a truck intentionally ramming into parked car. When he tried to make a traffic stop, the truck took off, running a red light and killing someone in the process. In calls to dispatch, you can hear Charleston County Sgt. Mark Bryant ask if he should continue the chase.

Sgt. Bryant says, “Should we continue with the pursuit until Summerville gets involved?”

Another deputy responds, “Yeah, if you feel safe go ahead. I’m on Boone Hill Road. Let me know if he starts heading up my way and I’ll get the stop sticks.”

Associate Sheriff Mitch Lucas says, “You want to make sure that nobody else gets hurt. And in this one, that control was taken out of our hands when this guy ran through a red light and T-boned the pick up truck. ”

The truck sped through Summerville reaching almost 80 miles per hour, driving across grass and sidewalks. Sgt. Bryant keeps dispatch up to date on road conditions.

He says, “We’re going about 78 right now, no traffic in the direction that we’re going.”

Lucas says, “You can write the chase off depending on the conditions, but no one knows the conditions better than the person doing the pursuing.”

But then the fleeing truck runs a red light, and crashes into a Chevy pick-up, killing 62-year-old Donald Echols.

Bryant says, “He’s running the red light . And he just 50’d. It’s pretty bad send EMS.”

Lucas says, “At this point, we don’t believe that Sgt. Bryant did anything inappropriate, just the accident was caused by the felon fleeing. We can’t let people run without at least trying to catch them if we know they’ve done something terrible.”

After running from the car, the suspect, Ronald Andrews, was captured and charged with Felony DUI resulting in death, failure to stop, and driving with a suspended license.

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