Crime & Courts

Suspect arrested in I-26 chase, standoff

A sexual assault suspect and registered sex offender with whom police had been negotiating for hours was arrested about 1:35 p.m. Wednesday on a shutdown I-26 near the Calhoun-Orangeburg county line.

Paul Fletcher Reid, 45, of Reidy Court, Columbia, was taken into custody east of Columbia, at mile marker 139, said Maj. John Allard, Lexington County Sheriff’s Department spokesman.

Reid is listed on Richland County Sheriff’s Department’s Website as a registered sex offender. He was convicted of first-degree sexual assault.

The standoff caused the shutdown of of I-26 eastbound lanes beginning at mile marker 129 around noon, Allard said.

The man had threatened to kill himself and harm officers and others, Allard said. Allard said he is believed to have had a pistol and shotgun in his vehicle.

Lexington authorities received a report of sexual assault and identified the man as a suspect Wednesday morning, Allard said.

The man’s name and details about the sexual assault were unavailable Wednesday afternoon, Allard said.

Investigators learned the man was traveling on I-26 toward Charleston about 11:30 a.m. and established phone contact with him.

“He’s been pulling off of 26 and talking to us, then pulling back onto the highway,” Allard said.