An armed Moncks Corner driver was shot and injured along the median of Interstate 95 in Orangeburg County on Thursday after leading law enforcement officers on an hour-long chase with his wife held at gunpoint.
Investigators said 34-year-old Daniel Ward was supposed to be in court that morning for violating an order of protection his wife took against him. Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis said Ward shot at deputies after the chase ended and they returned fire, striking the suspect. He was airlifted to a Columbia hospital for treatment and will be arrested upon his release. No other injuries were reported.
Lewis said the wife was driving the car when Ward somehow surprised her inside the vehicle. Lewis said investigators believe Ward may have been hiding inside the trunk at first. Lewis said the woman happened to be on the phone with a deputy solicitor when the incident began. The sheriff said she was able to relay what was happening and the prosecutor transferred her call to 911.
“We’re thankful that she was able to call us and get that information to us quickly. And that we had deputies in the area that were able to respond,” Lewis told reporters in a briefing Thursday.
The sheriff said the chase began when a Berkeley County deputy spotted the vehicle in a rural area south of Holly Hill. Ward did not stop and the pursuit continued onto into Orangeburg County, along I-95 into Clarendon County, then back into Orangeburg County. The chase ended around mile marker 98 southbound when the cars came upon a traffic jam caused by road construction.
Lewis said Ward shot at the approaching deputies, who returned fire. There is dashboard camera footage of the incident, according to the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED). The deputies involved are on paid leave while SLED investigates, as is normal policy for officer-involved shootings.
“I’m thankful that none of our deputies were injured and the victim (Ward’s wife) was not injured in this case,” Lewis said. “That’s really remarkable, y’all.”
SLED plans to charge Ward with four counts of attempted murder. Berkeley County authorities intend to add one count each for kidnapping, violating a protection order, possessing a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, and failure to stop for blue lights.