Crime & Courts

Driver fights Richland deputy while holding toddler after crash on ‘Live PD’

A man led Richland County deputies on a chase at speeds of more than 90 mph, crashed his car and then fought with a deputy while holding a 2-year-old girl – and it was all caught on live TV.

The action unfolded on “Live PD,” a documentary series on A&E network that follows law enforcement agencies around the country with cameras and airs live on Friday and Saturday nights.

During Saturday’s show, Deputy Chris Mastrianni is seen pursuing a small SUV down Monticello Road and onto North Main Street, telling dispatch that the chase is reaching speeds of 75 and then 90 mph as the cars whiz past Interstate 20 and onto North Main Street.

Mastrianni follows the car onto Elmore Street, where it crashes and overturns.

“Don’t you move! Get on the ground!” Mastrianni shouts to the driver, who crawls out of the overturned car with a toddler girl in his arms.

The barefoot man struggles with Mastrianni. While holding and, at times, slinging the toddler around, he fights with Mastrianni, who repeatedly yells, “That’s your baby!” and “Let go of the baby!”

Mastrianni eventually wrestles the man to the ground and gets him to let go of the little girl, who stands up while the suspect continues to wrestle with Mastrianni a few feet away.

The deputy holds the suspect to the ground and calls for additional officers to help handcuff him.

Moments later, after the man has been arrested, Mastrianni is heard saying, “It’s OK. It’s OK. ... I’m worried about her now.” The camera then shows the deputy carrying the toddler, her head resting on his shoulder.

“Thank you to everyone that has reached out to me with so much love and support about last night,” Mastrianni said in a tweet Sunday afternoon. “It was a long night and everyone is safe.”

Lt. Curtis Wilson said deputies responded around 9 p.m. to a disturbance and a report of gunshots on the 100 block of Furwood Circle. The suspect, 22-year-old Bryan Martin, left the scene, prompting the high-speed chase.

Mastrianni did not know when the chase began that a child was in the car, Wilson said. Both Martin and the girl were taken to a hospital for observation.

The 2-year-old girl was turned over to a relative, and Martin was taken to jail on charges of failure to stop for blue lights and siren, assault while resisting arrest, unlawful conduct toward a child, driving under suspension-third offense and simple possession of marijuana, Wilson said. A judge on Sunday set Martin’s bond at $102,947.50 for the charges.

Dan Abrams, the host of “Live PD” and a legal affairs anchor for ABC News, said in a tweet that he’s covered “a lot of live television,” but called Saturday’s episode of the show “one of the most emotionally draining ever.”

Unlawful conduct toward a child is a felony that carries up to 10 years in prison, under South Carolina law. Martin also faces up to a year in prison for the assault charge.

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