Bamberg Police Department
A Branchville man stopped by police appeared to chew and swallow something he didn’t want to show officers.
On the night of Aug. 19, an officer observed a car bearing a red-colored temporary tag as he was traveling behind the vehicle. The officer activated the blue lights on his marked patrol car. The vehicle stayed in motion and did not appear to acknowledge the blue lights. The officer then activated his siren, and the suspect vehicle continued in motion. The suspect vehicle made a left turn from that street onto another street. The officer activated his siren and his blue lights again, and the vehicle turned into a residence.
The vehicle proceeded to the rear area of the residence before coming to a stop. The officer approached the vehicle and made contact with the male driver. When the officer questioned the driver as to why he did not stop when he first initiated the traffic stop, the driver reportedly made mumbling-type responses. The subject appeared to have a mouthful of an unknown substance.
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The officer told the subject to keep his hands visible until another officer arrived. The assisting officer arrived, and the suspect was removed from the vehicle and placed in handcuffs. A search of the suspect’s person was negative. Both the officer and assisting officer asked the subject to open his mouth, but he refused.
The officer conducted a probable cause search of the suspect vehicle, which yielded a handgun and a large amount of cash in the glove compartment. According to the officer’s report, the suspect appeared to be destroying evidence of drug possession by chewing and swallowing it. After the suspect finished chewing the unknown substance, the officer asked him again why he had not stopped when he first initiated the traffic stop using his blue lights and siren. The suspect responded by saying he was scared.
The suspect was unable to provide any proof of insurance on the vehicle, and the temporary tag’s date appeared to be altered. The tag was seized for evidence. A Bamberg County deputy arrived on the scene and transported the subject to the Bamberg County Detention Center for housing.
The suspect was charged with having an altered vehicle license tag and operating an uninsured motor vehicle. The handgun, temporary license tag and currency were logged into evidence. This incident was captured on the officer’s in-car camera and body camera.