Springdale, SC (Paul Kirby) – Multiple agencies assisted officers with the Springdale Police Department Wednesday afternoon after a man fled a traffic stop on foot. This started a manhunt of a large wooded area that has many acres of thick woods and brush. Eventually, the hunt was called off after the man was positively identified and officers decided to issue warrants for his arrest instead.
According to Springdale’s Police Chief Kevin Cornett, Investigator Richbourg got behind the man driving a vehicle and attempted a traffic stop. He said there wasn’t a car chase. The man pulled over when the cruiser’s lights came on, but the man immediately got out and ran. The chief said this happened around the 300 block of Wattling Road near the Nazarene Church. It all happened so fast; Richbourg didn’t even have time to radio in the car’s plate number.
Although this is close to Springdale Elementary School, other officers were on the scene quickly to ensure the school was safe. The man actually fled away from the school into the woods headed toward Ermine and Old Barnwell Roads. The suspect was described as a light-skinned black male with short dreadlocks in his hair. He had no shirt on, dark shorts, and originally had on flip-flops. He ran out of his shoes almost immediately, but continued to flee into the thick brush and woods barefoot.
Multiple agencies from across the area converged on the scene within moments. There were officers from South Congaree and Pine Ridge, deputies from Lexington County, and K-9s and officers with the Cayce Department of Public Safety all helping. A large perimeter was set up where officers were spread apart so they could see if anyone crossed between them. The first dog that arrived was set on the track and followed the man’s trail through the woods. He eventually crossed a creek, and officers confirmed they located barefoot tracks in the mud there. Another K-9 took over to prevent the first animal from overheating and continued tracking. Eventually, the dogs were taken off the trail after officers identified the suspect through an investigative process. Detective Richbourg positively confirmed the man's identity as the one who ran from him after looking at a DMV photo pulled up on the scene. Springdale’s police chief said, “Deputies from Lexington County’s Sheriff’s Department helped us make an identification. After we knew who we were looking for and what areas he frequents, it just wasn’t necessary to stress the dogs or officer in the heat. We are issuing warrants for the suspect and should be able to take him into custody soon.”
Chief Cornett said that the way that other agencies responded was amazing. “Other departments started our way without us even having to call. They helped us set our perimeter and assisted us in making sure this guy didn’t do anyone any harm. They helped to keep the school safe and seamlessly integrated with our operation quickly. This is interagency cooperation at its best,” Cornett said.
The suspect’s identity was not released Wednesday. That can happen once he’s in custody and police decide what exactly they are charging him with.