WILLIAMSBURG COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is investigating after a Kingstree man deputies said fled a traffic checkpoint died after he was tasered multiple times.
According to the incident report from the Williamsburg County Sheriff's Office, deputies and South Carolina Highway Patrol troopers were conducting a driver's license checkpoint on Dennis Avenue near Highway 52 North around 11 p.m. Monday when they saw a white minivan approach from Eastland Avenue.
Deputies said the van stopped about 20 feet from the officers, at which time they shined a light into the van. Deputies said they saw a black male in the driver's seat and a white male in the front passenger seat. Both men were bent forward and appeared to be trying to hide something under the front seat, the report states.
Officers said they were walking up to the van door when the driver, 29-year-old Carl Edward Ballard, sped off after they yelled for him to stop.
Officials said they returned to their cruisers, activated their blue lights and siren, and a pursuit followed. The van made a left turn onto Highway 52 and then made a right turn onto Greenlee Street, the report states. The van then made several turns onto unknown roads before turning left onto Hodges Road and headed towards Sandy Bay Road. Ballard then turned right onto Sandy Bay Road and drove towards Planters Road, where it made another right turn.
Deputies said Ballard then stopped just short of Broad Swamp Road, and both men exited the vehicle.
While the passenger immediately exited the van and surrendered with his hands in the air, officials said Ballard ran into the woods, and a foot chase ensued.
During the foot chase, officials said they were able to catch up to Ballard after he fell down. One trooper told Ballard to stay down and put his hands behind him, but he got up and started running again, so that trooper deployed his taser from behind, the report states.
Ballard fell down and was commanded to lie on his stomach and put his hands behind him, but deputies said he failed to comply, got up again, and started to run off. At that point, a deputy deployed his taser and shot Ballard in the back again, causing him to fall down.
Officials said they again told Ballard "to stay down and submit," but he got up and started to run again. At that point, Ballard became entangled in vines and briars and a deputy was able to tackle him to the ground, the report states.
The deputy said Ballard began resisting, so he used the taser to initiate a "drive stun" technique on Ballard's back. The deputy said Ballard knocked him away several times and he had to reapply the technique, which also proved ineffective.
Officials said they were then able to forcibly put Ballard's hands behind his back. He was handcuffed and walked out of the woods, the report states.
Ballard was placed in the front seat of a Highway Patrol cruiser, and troopers took him to the emergency room as the deputy followed behind, according to the report.
Troopers said when they got to the hospital, Ballard didn't respond to any questions. He later died. The Williamsburg County Coroner's Office has not determined a cause of death.
"Who says the law was right for what they did to my brother?,"said Ballard's sister Theresa Williams. "They went home to their families the next morning. My brother can never come back here on earth again."
According to a Highway Patrol spokesman, Ballard showed no signs of distress when they left the scene, but midway through the trip "he got quiet."
The spokesman said it took the trooper 11 minutes to take Ballard to the hospital from the scene.
We spoke with Williamsburg County Sheriff Michael Johnson, who called the death "a tragic, unfortunate incident."
The incident report makes no mention of any illegal drugs or weapons found in the van or at the scene, but the Highway Patrol spokesman said troopers spotted items being thrown out of the window during the chase.
However, that spokesman also said no contraband was recovered along the chase route either.
Ballard had no criminal record.
We have reached out to South Carolina Highway Patrol for more information. Reporter Harve Jacobs will be in Kingstree Wednesday to speak with family members.
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