top of page

Driver who led trooper on chase Monday previously sentenced for killing 19 year-old in deadly DUI cr

Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – The man that led SC state troopers on a high-speed chase through Lexington on Monday, August 24, 2020 has a checkered driving history that includes a crash that took the life of a 19 year-old Gilbert teen in 2015. He is still on probation for reckless homicide and will be until 2023. This is a part of his sentence and he is being supervised by the Richland County's State Department of Parole, Probation, and Pardon. He had not regained his driver’s license when he tore through Lexington Monday with three state troopers in pursuit of a vehicle he was behind the wheel of creating quite a stir.

James Brian Gainey, Jr. was riding a motorcycle after allegedly drinking in a Five Points’ bar at 20 years-old in August of 2015 when he picked up Caitlin Clark, 19, of Gilbert in the parking lot of Ozzie’s Island in West Columbia. He had to pick her up in the parking lot because he had already been kicked out of Ozzie’s for using a fake ID.

According to state troopers who were working Lexington County at that time, Gainey was operating the motorcycle on Augusta Road approaching the Barnyard Flea Market around 2:30 a.m. when he suddenly popped over a hill almost striking a patrolling trooper in the rear of his cruiser. According to that trooper, Gainey had to swerve the bike into the other lane in order to keep from hitting him. The trooper never activated his lights or gave chase because he spotted young Clark hanging off the back of the bike. Troopers don’t normally pursue motorcycles with passengers because of the danger the passenger poses.

The trooper did continue in the same direction the bike was travelling and saw it in the distance as it turned onto St. David’s Church Road. The trooper also turned there because he feared that at the speed Gainey was travelling, he would wreck the bike, and he and his passenger might lie beside the road seriously injured for some time before they were found. Within a short distance, the trooper rode up on a crash scene where the bike had left the road and gone through a fence. Caitlyn Clark was lying near the motorcycle dead and Gainey tried to flee the scene on foot. He was quickly taken into custody and charged with felony DUI involving death, hit and run, and unlawful use of a license.

In 2016, Gainey was sentenced to 10 years in prison with 5 years of that suspended, credit for time served, and 4 years of probation. Again, he is still on probation.

Gainey was eventually released pre-trial with an ankle monitor. Clark’s mother was understandably upset to learn that while Gainey was supposed to be monitored 24/7 and had been ordered by a judge to avoid anywhere alcohol was served, he was still regularly visiting nightspots and drinking as if nothing had happened. She had both photographs and witness statements to back this up. She tried hard to get anyone in the legal system to do something but was unsuccessful.

Now, Gainey is facing serious traffic charges again. He was in the Lexington County Detention Center at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 charged with reckless driving, driving under suspension, and failure to obey a traffic control device. His bond has been set at $1,320.

Call the Editor
(803) 587-3144

Counter reset on January 30, 2018 with total hits of 966,512 to date

Call Paul Kirby

(803) 587-3144

bottom of page