Suspect arrested in Richland Co. deputy's death - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Suspect arrested in Richland Co. deputy's death

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Deputy Darral Lane Deputy Darral Lane
Matthew Denny Hooks Matthew Denny Hooks
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A Richland County deputy died of a heart attack while trying to arrest three people after a chase Friday morning.

Deputy Darral Lane, 41, died from cardiac arrest. According to the coroner, Lane had a heart attack brought on by the stress of the incident. The deputy had cardiovascular disease and an enlarged heart.

Authorities arrested 34-year-old Matthew Denny Hooks in connection with the murder, and have set his bond at $200,000.

Hooks faces an outstanding warrant for grand larceny, and a friend says Hooks had a suspended license. He has now also been charged with failure to stop for police and involuntary manslaughter.

Hooks was arrested at around 11:15pm Friday at the Scottish Inn off Bush River Rd.

Sheriff Leon Lott said Deputy Lane was conducting an investigation into a suspicious vehicle that was occupied and parked behind the Pitt Stop Convenience Store on Fairfield Road.

Deputy Lane approached the vehicle and it sped out of the parking lot. A chase ensued, which ended behind a home on Burton Street.   

The sheriff stated that the driver of the vehicle fled into the woods while Deputy Lane secured the two passengers.   

Sheriff Lott stated that after handcuffing one of the suspects, the deputy collapsed.

Lott added that Deputy Lane was transported to Palmetto Health where he was pronounced dead at 6:30am.

"The hardest part about this situation is the fact that we have an officer that is now deceased," said Lt. Chris Cowan. "This officer, as he stopped the vehicle, he got out of his vehicle, went to apprehend the three suspects, one of which he handcuffed. As he handcuffed the first suspect, he collapsed there on the scene and was pronounced dead this morning at approximately 6:30."

The two other men initially escaped. One of the two men who got away was taken into custody later Friday morning, around 10am. Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott says no charges will be filed against those two.

Friends describe Hooks as a "stand-up guy" and a loving father of two sons. They say he'd just gone back to school to try and earn a degree.

Hooks' ex-girlfriend says, "He's a man that made bad choices and yes he does have to pay for the choices he made, but he's not a monster."

She says Hooks is a good-hearted man and a good father. Hooks' oldest son also spoke to WIS News 10. He also didn't want to be identified. "He's not what they're making him out to be."

We're told the Solicitor's office reviewed the circumstances behind the incident and concluded that Hooks' actions led to the death of the deputy.

Hooks' ex-girlfriend says the involuntary manslaughter charge is too much. "He would never kill anybody and I believe with all my heart that if he had of known the officer was having a heart attack, he wouldn't have ran."

Deputy Lane had managed to handcuff one man before he collapsed. Lott says that man tried to help Lane even though he was handcuffed.

"This is a a tragic situation for the family of the Richland County Sheriff's Department," said Lt. Cowan.

"We have an officer - one of our own - that has died. And again, this is a situation where words can't describe what we're going through, what his family is going through," Cowan continued.

Lane retired from the Army after 20 years of service and joined the sheriff's department in February, 2006, where he was assigned to the Uniform Patrol Division. 

Deputy Lane leaves behind a wife, Sheila, and two sons, Darryl Jr. and Darius. One of his sons is graduating from Lander University Saturday. The other is a basketball player at Benedict College.

Darryl Jr. remembers his father as a strong man, "He had 20 years in the Army. He was in the Army as long as I can remember, since I was little. He traveled the whole world. He was a drill sergeant when we got down here, to Columbia, South Carolina, at Fort Jackson."

That carried over into some tough parenting, Darryl Jr. says, "Our dad would just be on us real hard, but that was just some tough love he showed us to keep us on the straight and narrow."

Darius says, "I always seemed to find my way into some, some problem, and he'd always be the one to come and bail me out. He'd always say, you know, 'I ain't going to do this.' Then he'd call me later and say, 'I went up here and handled this for you, did that, did this.' He always just bailed me out."

"I just want everybody to know that he was, he was a good person," says Darryl Jr.

Funeral arrangements for Deputy Darral Lane have been set for 12pm on Friday at Greenlawn Cemetery and Funeral Home on Leesburg Road.

In addition to having a law enforcement presence at the funeral, Deputy Lane, who retired from the Army as a sergeant, will be buried with full military honors.

A family spokesperson has released this statement:

"The family would like to thank everyone for their prayers and condolences. The out pouring of love and support has been tremendous - we thank everyone for honoring Darral, while honoring our privacy. NBSC has set up a memorial account and donations can be made in the name of Deputy Darral Lane at any NBSC Branch."  

Posted by Bryce Mursch

Copyright 2007 Raycom Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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