Routine checkpoint becomes high speed chase

RIDGEWAY – A high speed chase that began in Ridgeway, ended on Garner’s Ferry Road and reached 123 miles per hour, resulted in attempted murder charges for Michael Odell Lewis, 24, of Columbia.

Lewis

The incident began during an early evening traffic safety check conducted by the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Department at the intersection of Syrup Mill Road and Peach Road on Jan. 26, when a blue Hyundai Elantra pulled up to the check point.

Deputy Amber Shults reported immediately smelling the odor of an alcoholic beverage and what appeared to be marijuana coming from the vehicle. Shults said she observed an open container of liquor in the center console and a small scale on the driver’s lap.

When the driver was asked to turn off the vehicle, he complied, then turned the engine back on and accelerated at a high rate of speed towards another deputy who was standing in the roadway speaking with the driver of another vehicle, according to the report. The officer moved quickly out of the way to avoid being struck while Dep. Shultz pursued the Hyundai onto Devil’s Race Track Road then right onto Syrup Mill Road, traveling back through the safety check point area.

The Hyundai continued, reaching 90 miles per hour as it entered Richand County and turned left onto Blythewood Road, heading for Blythewood, the report stated. Turning south onto I-77, the chase was reported to reach 123 miles per hour.

Richland County deputies attempted to use stop sticks at Exit 22. The vehicle swerved toward a Richland County Deputy during the pursuit.

After leaving I-77 at Exit 9, the vehicle turned onto Garners Ferry Road and pulled into an apartment complex where the Hyundai’s front passenger side tire blew out. The suspect, later identified as Lewis, and a passenger fled on foot but were apprehended in the complex, the report stated.

Both Fairfield and Richland County officers charged Lewis with attempted murder and failure to stop for blue lights.

The passenger, Travol Robinson, 25, was charged with open container. Both were transported to Fairfield County Detention Center. Lewis was denied bond and Robinson and released on his personal recognizance.