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County Crime Report - April 2, 2019
Man allegedly took, then returned son before car chase
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Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) deputies are seeking 40-year-old John Keith Morgan, of Mill Street, Camden, following two related incidents in the Bethune area on the evening of March 20.

According to the first of two KCSO reports, dispatchers sent deputies to a Stephens Road address around 8:45 p.m. March 20 because of reports that someone was trying to break into the residence. Dispatchers advised a responding deputy that Morgan was the suspect and that the Camden Police Department had dealt with Morgan at Walmart regarding a custody dispute earlier in the day. Dispatchers also told the deputy that the caller was a 15-year-old girl who was watching her 5-year-old brother while their mother was not home.

Just before the deputy arrived on the scene, dispatchers said Morgan had gotten into the home, had taken the 5-year-old boy and left in the direction of Lee County. Deputies in that county were advised to be on the lookout for a white service truck.

The 15-year-old told the responding deputy that her mother had texted her telling her to lock the doors and not let anyone inside, but when she heard a car pull up, she thought her mother had returned. However, when she opened the door, it turned out to be Morgan, who claimed the girl’s mother had said he could come in. She said she told Morgan that wasn’t true, but that her brother came over to the door and pushed it open. She said she tried to push it back closed to keep Morgan out, but that Morgan pushed it all the way open, walked in, grabbed a jacket and shoes for her brother and left with him.

At this point, the children’s mother showed up and, when told Morgan had her 5-year-old son, became extremely upset, screaming that Morgan was drunk, did not have a car seat and did not have a driver’s license. She explained that their custody arrangement allowed Morgan to have the boy only on the weekends. March 20 was a Wednesday.

Just as the deputy was ready to leave, the woman’s phone rang and it turned out to be Morgan. She said Morgan claimed he was down the road and knew deputies were at the scene. She further said he told her he would drop the boy back off if the deputies left. The woman asked the deputy to do so and said she would call them back when her son was returned safely.

About an hour later, the reporting deputy received a call from the mother saying Morgan had returned the boy, and was originally heading back to Camden, but then said he was driving back and forth past her house.

In the second KCSO report, the same responding deputy said she was on Old Stagecoach Road while heading back to Stephens Road and saw Morgan’s white Dodge service truck pass her. She reported that she turned around and attempting to catch up to Morgan, but that despite excessive speeds, she could not gain on him. After losing sight of the truck, she went past Pickett Thomas Road and saw taillights. She turned and made her way to McRae Road, looked right and could see the tail lights of the truck.

The deputy reported being able to see Morgan pass a car that had been trying to make a left turn on Joy Road on a solid double yellow line. She was soon able to catch up to Morgan and reported seeing it swerve multiple times left of center and also on to the right shoulder. About a half-mile past Joy Road, she turned on her blue lights, but Morgan never slowed down or even applied his brakes, according to her report. Finally, Morgan reportedly swerved on to Hunting Inc. Road, stopped on the left side of the road (facing traffic), appeared to stagger out of the vehicle, take a few steps toward the deputy’s patrol car and then ran across the road into some woods.

The deputy chased Morgan deep into the woods, advising him he was under arrest, but lost track of him.

The deputy wrote in her report that Morgan would most likely have warrants issued against him for failure to stop, no driver’s license and reckless driving. It is unclear whether he will face charges for entering the Stephens Road residence or taking the 5-year-old boy.

The KCSO also reported the following recent incidents:

Deputies arrested a 27-year-old Hopkins man for failing to stop for blue lights and hit and run with property damage late on the night of March 19 after a deputy patrolling Elgin advised two motorcycles sped through town in excess of 100 mph. Another deputy said they were behind the motorcycles on U.S. 1 heading in the direction of a third deputy. That deputy reported seeing the motorcycles turn onto Roseborough Road and joined in the pursuit, making another turn onto Ward Road toward U.S. 1. The motorcycles continued over U.S. 1 on to Ridgeway Road (S.C. 34), now traveling in excess of 125 mph. The chase continued to the Kershaw-Fairfield county line where one of the motorcycles came to a complete stop in the middle of the roadway. Due to the extreme speed, the reporting deputy did not see the rider until they were almost on top of him and had to swerve to avoid killing the man. Another deputy had to swerve as well, to avoid hitting both the motorcyclist and the other deputy. The reporting deputy chased that motorcyclist again, who had turned around and headed back toward Lugoff. They were able to keep that suspect in sight until the Richardson Boulevard area, but a citizen called in and said the motorcycle had turned on to Willbrook Drive, which is in a dead-end subdivision. The deputy managed to track the motorcycle into a row of trees and arrest the rider, who actually apologized for putting the deputies in danger and speeding off the second time after the patrol cars nearly collided. The report was unclear concerning the disposition of the other motorcyclist. According to an Elgin Police Department report, the arrested man also said that he had been driving on I-20 in Columbia when the other motorcyclist -- who he said he did not know -- passed him, so they began racing and did so until he was caught and the other cyclist sped into Fairfield County.

Deputies ended up taking a 17-year-old young man to the hospital for possible commitment following a traffic stop inside the Camden city limits on March 22. A deputy was traveling west on DeKalb Street near the Piggly Wiggly when a black, older-model Mustang turned from Brookgreen Court without first stopping for the red light, and then revved the engine so hard that the rear tires spun, causing the car to slide as he accelerated up the roadway. This happened so close in front of the deputy, that they reported having to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting the Mustang, and noted that this was in the middle of lunch traffic on a Friday afternoon. The stop was conducted in the nearby KFC parking lot and the deputy initially only cited the young man for reckless driving, but did not arrest him. However, as he went back to his patrol car, the deputy could hear the young man yelling profanities while hitting his dash and steering wheel, causing a disturbance. The deputy went back to him and advised him to calm down. As he headed back to his patrol car a second time, the young man yelled out a profanity along with the number 12. At this point, the deputy arrested him for public disorderly conduct, and he continued to yell profanities at the deputy and the public while being placed in handcuffs. Another deputy arrived on the scene and took him to jail, but during the transport, the young man began banging his head and yelling that he wanted to kill himself, leading that deputy to take him to the hospital.

Deputies arrested a 36-year-old Lugoff man on public disorderly conduct and malicious injury to property charges on the night of March 18 after responding to a fight in progress on Lewis Street in east Camden. A responding deputy reported arriving on the scene to find the man not wearing a shirt, screaming profanities and threatening to kill someone living at the home. The man initially refused to put his hands behind his back to be detained, but complied after being threatened with a Taser. While speaking to others in the home -- who refused to press charges, but did want the man to leave -- the deputy could still hear the man screaming outside. She then heard loud cracking noises coming from her patrol vehicle and realized the subject had somehow gotten the cuffs around to his front and was beating and kicked the passenger side window. Another deputy had to use a spray to get the subject to stop. After being booked at the detention center, the man had to be transported to the hospital for seizures. The reporting deputy said hospital staff determined the man had ecstasy, heroin, cocaine and marijuana in his system. He was then taken back to the jail where other deputies reported he caused problems there, including getting into a physical altercation with detention center officers.

Deputies arrested a 34-year-old Summerville man at a Lugoff apartment complex for breach of peace and second-degree domestic violence after allegedly stomping and kicking a 26-year-old woman during the early morning hours of March 17. According to a KCSO report, the man tried several times to keep deputies from entering the apartment, claiming everything was fine despite reports from neighbors of a woman screaming and children crying. One deputy managed to push the door open, while another guided the man outside as the first deputy and a third went to check on the woman. They located her in a back bathroom with her face swollen, her right eye swollen shut, and blood on her face and shirt. While they spoke to the woman, the deputies could hear the man shouting and cursing before he was escorted to one of the deputies’ patrol cars. The woman said she had been struck by the man multiple times, as well as kicked and stomped on. She complained of head and back pain, and EMS was called to the scene to check her out. Deputies arrested the man due to the injuries she sustained and the fact that the children -- ages 1, 3 and 5 -- witnessed the assault.

Someone stole two trailers from a Catawba Road property near Kershaw near Haile Gold Mine Road sometime between 1 p.m. March 15 at 12:45 p.m. March 20. According to the victim, a black 10-foot by 12-foot enclosed trailer contained two inflatables -- one a double slide, the other a boundy house/slide combo, along with the hardware used with them. The trailer and its contents are valued at approximately $10,000. The other trailer is also black, but is a 12-foot by 16-foot utility trailer with a wooden floor, and worth about $2,500. The trailers had been kept under an armada (a concrete slab with a roof built over it) and the reporting deputy noted tire tread impressions leading to it from a point on Haile Gold Mine Road across the field.

Deputies arrested a 28-year-old Lugoff man for third-degree domestic violence after allegedly assaulting his girlfriend during the early morning hours of March 21. When deputies located the man and took him into custody, he said he came home to find his girlfriend in bed with another man and claimed he blacked out and didn’t know what happened. The young woman and the other man said the suspect arrived where they were, came inside and attacked her, shouted obscenities at both of them, punched her and pulled her outside. They said they managed to leave on foot and ended up at the home from which they called for help. The reporting deputy noted that the woman had substantial swelling to the right side of her face.

Sometime between March 20 and 22, someone stole three mopeds, a window air conditioning unit, roofing and framing nailers, an air compressor and a drone from Ridgeway Road, Luogff home. A day or so later, a man on Gettys Road reported that someone stole his 4-foot by 8-foot utility trailer. He showed a deputy a security camera footage of a gray SUV from which a man got out. The deputy recognized the SUV as belonging to a particular suspect in connection with the Ridgeway Road theft. The man on Gettys Road recognized the picture of the suspect as someone who had come to his home claiming he had run out of gas a few days earlier, after which some tools went missing.

Sometime between 9 p.m. March 19 and 9 a.m. March 20, someone got into a gold Ford F-150 parked on Holly Circle and stole two tool bags with assorted electric and other hand tools, two electric saws and a multimeter. Around the same timeframe, someone entered a black Toyota Trundra, also parked on Holly Circle, and stole a drill/driver combo kit, small lase tough system, a heavy-duty toolbox with hand tools, and a 12-inch black tool bag with bungee cords and ratchet straps.

As of March 24, deputies were searching for a 34-year-old Lugoff man who allegedly attacked another man walking with his wife and daughter on Three Branches Road. The man allegedly starting yelling and screaming “ass whooping” while wielding a knife in his right hand around 1 to 1:30 p.m. March 23. The victim’s wife said she tried to use pepper spray on the man, but that he managed to dodge it and starting yelling “ass whooping” again.

A Columbia woman said someone stole her blue 2018 Kia Optima from where she had parked near Ashley Creek on Watts Hill Road in Lugoff on the night of March 16. She said she went to the party with her boyfriend, laid down her jacket at the beginning of the party and later fell asleep. When she awoke around 3 a.m. March 17, the keys and vehicle were gone.

A homeless man living behind a gas station on Sumter Highway said another homeless man assaulted him for no reason with a shovel. He did acknowledge this happened after they had both been drinking. He said that while the other man was hitting him he said he would kill him. He stopped short of doing that, however, and took off.

On March 17, a Lugoff man claimed that he gave a Cassatt man $1,000 cash to begin working on a metal roof for his home. The Cassatt man reportedly said it would take seven to 10 days to gather the necessary materials, but never returned to do the job and has not been seen or heard from since, despite claiming it would cost a total of $2,600 to do the work.

Sometime between 10 p.m. March 20 and 10:30 a.m. March 21, someone broke into Clark’s Bar on Main Street in Bethune and may have stolen several bottles of liquor. The owner said it appeared the burglars had rummaged through areas where he used to keep cash, but that he had recently moved where he keeps the cash, so none was stolen.

A 32-year-old man living near Kershaw is accused of pointing a long gun at his cousin, who said he did so while she was driving past his Jones Road residence. A woman riding in the car with her is reportedly the mother of the man’s child, and that she has domestic violence charges pending against him.

A man living on Saratoga Court near Ridgeway said a vehicle has been coming on his property and, on March 23, stole a number of fuel cans, two weed trimmers, a leaf blower, and attachments from a detached carport.

Deputies are investigating a claim that an 11-year-old girl sent another 11-year-old girl a pornographic anime photo as a text message containing a link to a similar pornographic video.

Someone stole about $2,000 from a Frenwood Lane, Lugoff, apartment on or about March 18. The thieves also took the victim’s wallet.

Someone took some wheels, tires and floor jacks from a County Line Road, Westville, residence belonging to a Kershaw woman.

Deputies are investigating a claim out of east Camden that a 16-year-old boy inappropriately touched a 15-year-old girl.

Deputies are investigating a claim that a 26-year-old Kershaw man sexually assaulted his 4-year-old son with an object.

County deputies also dealt with recent cases involving assault, breach of peace, communicating threats, civil disturbance, DUI, fight in progress, harassment, ID theft, intoxicated pedestrian, larceny, marijuana possession, public disorderly conduct, runaway, second-degree domestic violence, speeding, and use of a vehicle without the owner’s permission.

(KCSO reports are provided under the S.C. Freedom of Information Act. Subjects are considered innocent until proven guilty.)