Trooper fires weapon following Beaufort traffic stop, pursuit

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A trooper with the S.C. Highway Patrol has been placed on administrative duty after firing his weapon following a traffic stop and vehicle pursuit, officials say.

The incident occurred around 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 1 on U.S. Highway 21 near the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.

Trooper J.W. Ward attempted to pull over a 2007 Pontiac two-door after the driver of the car disregarded a traffic signal, according to Capt. Kelley Hughes, with the South Carolina Department of Public Safety.

The driver, identified as Robert Lamont Wilson, 32, of St. Helena Island, failed to stop and Ward pursued him. The driver lost control of the car which came to a stop near the air base, Hughes said.

Ward approached the vehicle and during that time discharged his department-issued firearm, according to a news release from the department. The driver again fled, and Ward pursued him into Colleton County on Green Pond Highway.

After entering Colleton County, another trooper joined the pursuit where they stopped the car by performing maneuvers designed to stop a fleeing vehicle.

Wilson was arrested and charged with disregarding a traffic control device, failure to stop for a blue light, driving with an expired license and operating a vehicle without insurance, according to the release.

EMS was called to the scene to evaluate Wilson after the collision. There were no injuries, the release stated.

The highway was closed for a few hours Tuesday night while the incident was investigated.

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is investigating the discharge of the trooper’s firearm to see if it met department-protocols. Ward has been placed on administrative duty.

The Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the collision.

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