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081519 robbery SCDOT

Traffic came to a standstill on Interstate 95 South on Wednesday after a suspected robber crashed his motorcycle. The suspect later died.

A man suspected of robbing two gas stations and trying to rob a bank is dead.

After a rash of crimes in Holly Hill, the 24-year-old suspect allegedly led law enforcement on a high-speed chase as he drove a stolen motorcycle through three counties.

The chase reached up to 130 mph down Interstate 95, according to Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Rick Carson.

The ordeal began around 10:15 a.m. Wednesday with the robbery of the Marathon gas station at 8704 Old State Road, according to Holly Hill Police Chief Josh Detter.

The robber slipped the clerk a note demanding cash and the clerk complied.

The same man is suspected of trying to enter the Farmers and Merchants Bank a block away at 8624 Old State Road.

He didn’t make it past the second set of security doors and fled.

Detter first radioed the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office to tell deputies that the suspect was headed east on Old State Road. The suspect took a different turn somewhere along the way.

The same man is suspected of robbing the Hutto Exxon/Food Mart at 1182 Good Farm Road in the Providence community, Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office Major Rene Williams said. The store is near the southbound entrance ramp of I-95.

Detter radioed the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office to let them know the robber may be heading their way down I-95.

A Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office deputy reported that the suspect was in front of him, Carson said.

The chase went from 55 to 60 mph at some points to “probably in excess of 110 mph and I heard 130,” Carson said. Two deputies pursued him to the Colleton County line where the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office took the lead.

The high speeds continued through Colleton County on I-95 “well over 100 mph” the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office said in a social media post late Wednesday afternoon.

The suspect lost control of the 2017 Suzuki motorcycle he was riding, the post said. It crashed into a Colleton County Sheriff’s Office pickup truck at mile marker 62 at 11:55 a.m.

The motorcyclist ran off the road and was thrown from the motorcycle, S.C. Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Matt Southern said.

He was not wearing a helmet.

The S.C. Highway Patrol has not determined his speed at the time of impact.

“Colleton County Fire-Rescue immediately arrived on scene and transported the suspect to the hospital where the suspect later expired from sustained injuries,” the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office said.

Traffic was closed for about two hours in both southbound lanes of I-95.

The collision remains under investigation by the S.C. Highway Patrol’s Multi-disciplinary Accident Investigation Team, Southern said.

The Colleton County Coroner’s Office had not released the name of the suspect by press time.

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Contact the writer: mbrown@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5545. Follow on Twitter: @MRBrownTandD.

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Staff Writer

Martha Rose Brown covers crime and other topics. The South Carolina native has been a journalist for the past 16 years.

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