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Gaston police take repeat offender into custody after brief pursuit Wednesday afternoon

Gaston, SC (Paul Kirby) – Gaston police have a repeat offender in custody after a brief pursuit Wednesday that ended when the suspect was run down on foot by Major Stephen Watkins of that department. After the man was taken into custody, he was transported to the Lexington Medical Center and later the Lexington County Detention Center.

Major Watkins was working Main Street (Hwy. 321 South) when he recognized Ronald “Gucci” Riley driving a gold 2010 Dodge Caliber that was reported stolen to the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department. Watkins had dealt with Riley before on a breach of trust case and knew him well. Watkins said that he activated his cruiser’s warning devices and began a normal traffic stop. Riley was caught in traffic at an intersection, so Watkins moved around him cutting him off with his car. He exited the patrol car and shouted for Riley to cut his vehicle off. Instead of complying, Riley turned through the Citgo’s parking lot and sped off.

Watkins gave chase, and another Gaston officer was able to get into position to assist. At one point, a police officer used his cruiser to perform a PIT maneuver on Riley’s car. This is an accepted practice where the cruiser’s push bumper is used to spin the fleeing car. That was unsuccessful. In the 200 block of Meadowfield Road, Riley lost control of the car, spun, went down a driveway he was pointed toward, and bailed out. He fled on foot, but Major Watkins was able to run him down while Riley was trying to jump a fence. Riley still had some fight in him, and he and Watkins began scuffling, a last-ditch effort by the suspect to escape. At that point, a Lexington County Deputy who had responded tased Riley incapacitating him. At that point he was cuffed and detained.

After he was taken into custody, Riley complained about some scratches he obtained as he fought, so he was transported by Lexington Ems to the hospital to be checked out. The SCHP responded to make a report because Riley had knocked some mailboxes down as he fled. He was medically cleared, formally placed under arrest, and transported to the detention center.

Riley was charged with Driving Under Suspension 4th, Failure to Stop for Blue Lights 2nd, Resisting Arrest, and an ABC violation. Major Watkins said later Wednesday that no officers were injured during the pursuit or foot chase. Riley will face a bond hearing soon.

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