CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A South Carolina Highway Patrol trooper has been terminated after firing his weapon during a chase with a suspect from Beaufort County into Colleton County in October.
Trooper J.W. Ward of troop six was fired on Nov. 8. He had been with the highway patrol since 2017. He was previously suspended without pay pending the results of the investigation.
Highway Patrol spokesman Roger Hughes said Ward was fired for improper conduct unbecoming of a state employee. An internal investigation by the office for professional responsibility determined the suspect in the case didn’t pose an immediate threat to Ward’s safety. The office also found his actions weren’t in line with his training or the department’s "Emergency Response/Vehicle and Foot Pursuit” policy.
The suspect, Robert Lamont Wilson, 32, was arrested on charges of disregarding a traffic control device, failure to stop for blue lights, driving under suspension 3rd or subsequent offense, operating uninsured and expired vehicle license, according to SCDPS Capt. Kelley Hughes.
Ward spotted a vehicle on U.S. 21 in Beaufort County that disregarded a traffic signal and attempted to conduct a traffic stop, Hughes said. When the vehicle did not stop, the trooper began a chase.
At one point during the chase, Hughes said the Wilson lost control and came to a stop.
“The trooper approached the vehicle and during that time, he discharged his department-issued firearm,” Hughes said in a release. “The vehicle again fled, and the trooper pursued into Colleton County on Green Pond Highway.”
After Wilson entered Colleton County, another trooper joined in the chase, Hughes said.
Troopers say they performed two P.I.T. maneuvers to disable Wilson’s vehicle and two troopers were able to detain him without further incident.
Neither the suspect nor the troopers were injured in the incident.