A Monday morning police chase involving Lexington County deputies and a stolen car came to a deadly end at the S.C. State Farmers Market.
Timothy W. Roberts and Nicole Y. Beran were in a stolen vehicle being pursued by the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department when they collided with a commercial delivery vehicle as it made a left turn, according to Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher.
The 44-year-old Roberts, of Swansea, was pronounced dead at the scene because of his injuries, Fisher said. Beran, 39, of Lexington, was pronounced dead at an area hospital.
Neither Roberts nor Beran were wearing a seat belt, according to Fisher, who said the “driver of the commercial delivery vehicle was transported to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.”
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The crash happened around 11:20 a.m. on U.S. 321 at the entrance to the S.C. State Farmers Market and involved a 2004 Volkswagen convertible and a Ford delivery van, according to Lance Cpl. David Jones of the S.C. Highway Patrol.
The Volkswagen was traveling north on U.S. 321, and the driver was trying to evade Lexington County deputies when the car crashed into the van, which is owned by Harvest Hope Food Bank and was turning left into the farmers market, Jones said. The crash sent the Volkswagen off the right side of the roadway, where it hit a guard rail and overturned.
The driver was ejected, and the passenger was entrapped and had to be extricated, Jones said.
Roberts had a suspended driver’s license and was wanted by the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services, said Capt. Adam Myrick of the sheriff’s department.
Harvest Hope officials said in a release Monday afternoon that one of their vans was involved in the crash, and that representatives from the food bank were at the scene. Food bank officials also were on their way to the hospital to check on the driver, according to the release.
The pursuit began when a deputy tried to stop a car in the 600 block of Meadowfield Drive after noting it matched the description of a car reported stolen to the South Congaree Police Department on Monday morning, according to Myrick. The driver of the stolen car initiated the pursuit when he didn’t stop for the deputy’s blue lights and siren, Myrick said.
The pursuit traveled on Meadowfield Road, Woodtrail Drive and U.S. 321 before it ended in the crash, Myrick said.
The deadly crash comes five months after The State published a series highlighting the problem of police pursuits in South Carolina. An analysis found that 1 in 10 pursuits in the past decade has resulted in a crash with an innocent bystander, often causing injury or death. On top of that, the Palmetto State continues to rank among the top 10 nationally for people killed in police pursuits.
Even so, police chiefs and sheriffs around the state continue to defend the practice.
No patrol car cars were involved in Monday’s crash, and no deputies were injured.
There have been 51 traffic deaths in Lexington County this year compared to 38 at this time last year, according to numbers released by the S.C. Department of Public Safety before Monday’s deadly crash.