UPDATE: Man wanted on multiple charges, second suspect identified | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | August 2, 2017 4:43 pm
Donell Stephen,left, and Juan Rivera
Sheriff’s office searching for suspect A Smoaks man will face multiple charges when the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office catches up with him after successfully eluded officers Tuesday afternoon.
The incident began Tuesday at 12:14 p.m. at the Shell station at 201 S. Jefferies Blvd. were members of the Colleton Sheriff Office’s Criminal Investigation Division attempted a traffic stop at the gas station. The detectives recognized the driver as Donell Stephens, 25, of Smoaks and a computer check alerted them to the fact that the driver was wanted on a bench warrant on a simple possession of marijuana charge issued by the Walterboro Police Department.
In video from the business’ security system shows the suspect’s vehicle pulling up to one of the outermost gasoline pumps at the station. Apparently the driver had not stopped to refill his tank, the gas cap was on the other side of the vehicle from the gas pump. As the video unfolds, one sheriff’s office vehicle containing Captain Jason Chapman and Investigator Richard Haley pulls to the front of the suspect vehicle and activates blue lights. Sgt. Dathan Varnadoe pulls in behind the suspect vehicle and also activates his blue lights. All three deputies are in full Criminal Investigation Division uniforms.
The video then reportedly shows Stephens placing his vehicle in reverse and striking the front of Varnadoe’s patrol car. As he does this, Haley is stepping out of the passenger side of Chapman’s vehicle and approaching the suspect’s vehicle. Donell Stephens then places the vehicle in drive and reportedly lunges in the direction of Investigator Haley. From here, the vehicle pursuit ensues.
During the chase, Stephens reportedly threw a firearm out of the vehicle. Another motorist who reportedly witnessed Stephens discarding the weapon, pulled their vehicle over on top of the weapon and contacted the emergency dispatch office to report the location of the handgun. A sheriff’s office cruiser was dispatched to the scene and its cruiser camera videoed the recovery of the weapon. A computer check of the weapon’s serial number found that it was reported stolen in Beaufort County.
The vehicle chase ended when Stephens crashed at the intersection of Robertson Boulevard and Barracada Road. Stephens and his passenger, identified by CCSO as Juan Rivera, jumped out of the vehicle and fled into a wooded area. A large contingent of Colleton County Sheriff’s Office personnel were joined by law enforcement offices from several other agencies and set up a perimeter. A canine unit was brought to the area to attempt to track the suspects.
The tracking attempt met with negative results and the search was discontinued.
Law enforcement officials report that Stephens will face charges of failure to stop for blue lights, unlawful carrying of a firearm, possession of a stolen firearm, and narcotics violations. Anyone who has any information regarding Stephens’ location, are asked to the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office at 843-549-2211 or Crime Stoppers at 843-554-1111, callers will remain anonymous.
The attached video was obtained from the Shell gas station located at 201 S. Jefferies Blvd in Walterboro. The clip portrays the initial traffic stop conducted by Colleton County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) investigators that led to yesterday’s chain of events. For clarification purposes, this narrative is being attached. The suspect vehicle can be seen pulling up to the outermost pumps (the gas cap location is on the opposite side of the vehicle from the pumps). Captain Chapman and Investigator Haley (CCSO) pulled up to the front of the suspect vehicle and activate blue lights. Sgt. Varnadoe pulls in behind the suspect vehicle and activates his blue lights. All three deputies are in full CID uniform. Donell Stephens places his vehicle in reverse and strikes the front of Sgt. Varnadoe’s patrol car. As he does this, Investigator Haley is stepping out of the passenger side of Captain Chapman’s vehicle and approaching the suspect’s vehicle. Stephens then places the vehicle in drive and lunges in the direction of Investigator Haley. From here, the vehicle pursuit ensues.