Routine traffic stop almost ends in tragedy

  • Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A routine traffic stop quickly turned hair-raising and could have been a tragedy if the driver had his way.

According to the Summerville Police incident report, a tan Chevy Blazer was pulled over Dec. 28, for traveling over the centerline twice. The driver was also repeatedly applying the brakes.

The stop was made by LA Motors on Trolley Rd. As the officer approached the vehicle he saw a 6-year-old child sitting in the passenger seat and a shotgun between the child and the driver.

After explaining the reason for the traffic stop and asking for the driver’s license, registration and insurance card, the officer took the items and went to confer with the backup officer who had arrived at the scene. The officer was concerned because he smelled alcohol coming from the vehicle.

Asking the driver to step out of the vehicle, the officer saw a bottle with red liquid – Richard’s Wild Irish Rose wine – almost empty.

Asking the driver how much he had to drink, the officer was told three or four beers but that a number of people had been in and out of his vehicle while he was at the hunt club. The officer asked if there was anyone at home who could come drive him home and the driver said his wife was there.

The responding officer told the driver to get back in the vehicle until his wife arrived.

As the officer returned to his car to check DMV files on the driver, the driver exited his vehicle, motioned to the officer to come over, reached back in the truck and retrieved the shotgun. He had his finger on the trigger and the barrel against his chest.

The officer drew his weapon and aimed it at the driver repeatedly telling him to put the shotgun down.

Instead, the driver pulled the trigger. The officer heard it click but the gun did not fire.

The driver then racked the gun again, put the barrel against his chest, and again pulled the trigger – five times. He then turned toward his vehicle and the officer rushed him, grabbing the shotgun and wrestling the driver to the ground with the help of a neighboring business owner who had witnessed the event.

Apparently, the gun jammed …twice.

The driver was placed in handcuffs and put in the back of a police car.

The driver had two shotguns in his possession and both were loaded with rounds in the chambers. Police unloaded and secured the guns.

The other officer arrived back on the scene with the driver’s wife who was told what her child had witnessed. The wife took possession of the vehicle and her child, telling police she would inform the child’s school what had happened so they could care for the child appropriately.

The driver was transported to Summerville Medical Center for a cardiac disorder and mental evaluation. He was issued a ticket for inattentive driving.

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