CYCLE CHASE LEADS TO CRASH 2009
The police officer pursuing a motorcyclist just before a fatal crash last month was radioing a supervisor about whether to continue the chase, according to county police officials, who said there are guidelines for any pursuit that could reach high speeds. A video from the Horry County police officer's dashboard-mounted camera released this week shows the motorcyclist speeding and weaving between lanes of traffic last month before the fatal collision. Before pursuing suspects, officers must consider the severity of the crime, the speed at which a suspect is traveling, potential harm to bystanders, the time of day, the condition of the police vehicle, along with weather, traffic and road conditions, officials said. dashcam0609 A police officers dashboard camera captured the chase and fatal wreck of a motorcyclist. "It comes down to: Do the dangers outweigh the necessity of making the arrest," said Sgt. Robert Kegler, spokesman for Horry County police. "If there's a guy you're trying to stop for a traffic violation and he's eluding the police and he's being reckless, cutting in and out of traffic, maybe it's raining ... that's something that's more than likely will get cut off. That's not a dire need to make an arrest." Officers are more likely to pursue a suspect in a homicide or kidnapping, Kegler said. In this case, the officer, Scott Calderwood, attempted to conduct a traffic stop May 15 on a motorcycle that had been seen speeding on S.C. 544, according to a police report. He reported the bike was "traveling at a speed greater than surrounding traffic." The officer pulled his vehicle behind the motorcycle and learned the registration was expired as the bike began to accelerate away from a traffic light at S.C. 544 and Singleton Ridge Road, according to an incident report. Calderwood turned on his blue lights and siren and tried to catch up with the bike, which at one point drove between a pickup and a dump truck, according to the incident report. The officer reported he "began to stay back from the motorcycle" and was talking to a supervisor about the pursuit when the crash occurred. He was about 100 yards behind the motorcycle when the bike struck a vehicle that had turned into the center lane of S.C. 544 near West Cox Ferry Road. The pursuit lasted 50 seconds and occurred about 1¼ miles from where the chase began. It has not been determined how fast the driver, Bret Hill Allen, 46, of Aynor, was traveling at the time of the crash. The S.C. Highway Patrol's Multi-Disciplinary Accident Investigation Team is investigating, according to Lance Cpl. Sonny Collins. "There was no radar. [Calderwood] did not measure a specific speed, so he turned around and checked him out," Kegler said. James Preston of Darlington, who witnessed the crash, said this week that Allen passed him on S.C. 544 a few seconds before the crash. Preston said Allen "was probably speeding." Most area police departments mandate that officers talk to a supervisor before the chase begins or during its early stages. If the highway patrol is involved, the pursuing officer must be in constant communication with a supervisor. A backup vehicle will help communicate weather, traffic conditions and the speed of the chase to a dispatch official. "If something like this occurs, the dispatcher will alert everyone in that area that a pursuit is in progress," said Sid Gaulden, spokesman for the S.C. Department of Public Safety. "That shuts off all other communication, except for those four people." Officers at the Georgetown County Sheriff's Office don't have a speed limit they must follow, said Sgt. Neil Johnson. They do have rules governing pursuits. In cases where police know the name of the suspect, officers may not pursue the suspect but rather obtain a warrant in hopes of arresting the person at a later time, Johnson said. Allen's death was one of three fatal motorcycle crashes reported during May's Harley-Davidson spring rally.
TASER FIGHT IS LIFE AND DEATH 2009
A Horry County Police officer stopped a Little River man on an outstanding warrant early Monday, May 18, 2009. The stop ended with a fight over a taser and a trip to the hospital for both. Horry County Police Sergeant Robert Kegler tells News 13 that Officer Charles Dean was trying to serve Krishmer Shamar Bessent, 30, with a warrant that night. Kegler said that Dean had made several attempts to contact Bessent earlier in the day with no luck until he stopped him on the road and approached him with the warrant. Kegler continued by saying that’s when Bessent grabbed hold of Officer Dean’s Tazer and the dangerous struggle began, landing them both in a near by ditch. Officer Brian Wilson, who arrived with another officer, is seen pulling the Tazer away from Bessent’s hand while the other officer handcuffed him. Kegler said that this was a matter of life and death. That’s why the department sees no wrongdoing and deems this as an appropriate action taken by their officers. "The current from the Tazer will go through the ballistic vest and incapacitate you just as well if you weren’t wearing one if that was the case then that officer has no longer access to hit the stuff that’s on his belt but the suspect does it’s actually a deadly force situation, so was it appropriate? Yes." Kegler also said that Officer Dean is expected to go back to work Monday after suffering a sprained wrist and a black eye during the struggle. Bessent was charged with assault and battery on a police officer while resisting arrest. He is currently out on bail. Krishmer Bessent was arrested March 17 on a drunk-driving charge. The mugshot taken that day shows what the South Carolina man looked like before he grabbed a police officer's taser Monday (5/18/09) and tried to shoot him with it. A judge set Bessent’s bond at $10,000. An Horry County Police officer attempted to stop a Little River man, who police said had an outstanding arrest warrant, before the suspect took off running from police early Monday morning. Officer Charles Dean attempted to arrest Krishmer Shamar Bessent, 30, just past midnight Monday as Dean saw Bessent walking down Bellamy Road. Dean was preparing a case file on Bessent from a DUI charge the officer levied against him in March, when he ran Bessent’s driver’s license number through dispatch for a criminal history check, according to a police report. County dispatchers informed Dean that Bessent was wanted on an "assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature" warrant. Dean left the precinct office, and drove by Bessent’s Bellamy Drive home, to locate him, but did not see his car at home, according to Dean’s report. Police said Dean left Bellamy Drive and headed to a bar the officer said he knew Bessent frequented. Dean reported that he left the bar and headed back down Bellamy Drive and spotted Bessent walking down the road. The officer made a u-turn and ordered Bessent to place his hands on the patrol car, according to the police report. The report states that Bessent started resisting and trying to elbow the officer while officer Dean continued working to place Bessent under arrest. Dean pulled his taser and tried to use it on Bessent, but the taser "failed to deploy," according to Dean. Bessent continued trying to grab the officer’s taser before both men fell into a ditch, knocking the taser out of Dean’s hand, according to the report. Bessent and Dean continued wresting over the taser before Bessent got a hand on the taser and fired it, driving the prongs into the ground, according to Dean’s report. The officer hit Bessent in the face "multiple times," because Dean reported the situation, "put me in fear for my life." Bessent told a county magistrate at his bond hearing Monday, "I didn’t assault him, he assaulted me." On March 17, Dean arrested Bessent and charged him with driving under the influence, according to court records. Bessent is free on bond on the DUI charge and has requested a jury trial in the case. Medics took Bessent and Dean to the Seacoast Hospital emergency room with injuries following the fight Monday. Dean was treated for a black eye and a wrist injury. Bessent was treated and released from the hospital Monday afternoon and booked in the J. Reuben Long Detention Center. Bessent faces an assault on a police officer while resisting arrest charge. A county magistrate set Bessent’s bond at $10,000 on the charge Monday afternoon. Bessent remains jailed without bond on the assault and battery charge.