Suspect in chase, deputy shooting on I-95 had ‘lengthy history,’ says sheriff

Daniel Ward

SANTEE, S.C. (WCIV) — A man accused of kidnapping his wife at gunpoint and leading officers on an hour-long chase was wounded in a shootout with police after crashing his car on I-95 Thursday.

Berkeley County Sheriff’s deputies say Daniel Brooks Ward, 34, was supposed to be in court for violating his bond Thursday morning but instead they say he abducted his wife while she was talking to a prosecutor about the case.

Ward now faces four counts of attempted murder after police say they shot him during a shoot-out after he crashed his car in the median of Interstate 95. He’s also charged with kidnapping, failure to stop for blue lights and weapons charges.

Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis said Ward was taken to Palmetto Health in Richland. His condition has not been released.

“He has a history of domestic violence. He’s been arrested by us several times,” Lewis said. “He was supposed to be in court this morning. He was armed, considered dangerous and he had his wife at gunpoint.”

Lewis said Ward may have been hiding in his wife’s trunk, waiting on her to get into her car Thursday morning.

Lewis said Ward’s wife had just dropped their children off at Cane Bay Elementary School just before 9 a.m. when Ward forced her into the passenger seat and held her at gunpoint.

She was talking to a solicitor about the court hearing when she was transferred to 911 dispatchers who directed deputies to the car on Highway 176 near the Lebanon community.

Lewis said she remained on the phone during most of the chase, telling deputies what was happening in the car.

“I don’t know why he allowed her to stay on the phone in the vehicle,” Lewis said.

Deputies tried to stop Ward, but he evaded the traffic stop and led them on a chase that went through Orangeburg County and onto Interstate 95 into Clarendon County before Ward turned around, Lewis said.

By then, Ward had hit several cars on the highway and the chase came to an end in the median. Lewis said Ward opened fire first and deputies returned fire, hitting him.

None of the deputies were injured. It’s the 13th officer-involved shooting of the year.

Southbound lanes of I-95 were shut down for the morning, leaving people stranded on the highway for hours. However, police started letting large trucks through on one lane around 1 p.m.

Lewis said his three deputies are being put on paid administrative leave until SLED completes its investigation.

Ward is a regular name in sheriff’s department reports, according to Lewis, who said deputies had dealt with him on at least a dozen occasions in the past several months. He described it as a “lengthy history” with Ward. This is not the first time Ward has been charged with kidnapping either, the sheriff said.

Most recently, Ward was arrested in a crime sweep and had been released on bond, Lewis said.

Clarendon County deputies, South Carolina Highway Patrol, and Holly Hill Police also responded.

This marks the 13th officer-involved shooting of the year.

Caroline Balchunas and Lara Rolo contributed to this story from Santee and Moncks Corner.

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