Coroner identifies kidnapping suspect killed in head-on collision in Dorchester Co. during chase

Updated: Apr. 16, 2021 at 4:29 PM EDT
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DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - The Dorchester County Coroner’s Office has identified a kidnapping suspect who died in a head-on collision in the St. George area during a police chase.

Coroner Paul J. Brouthers said 56-year-old Stephen B. Swears of Boynton Beach, Florida died while evading police on US 15 when his vehicle crossed the centerline and struck another motorist’s vehicle head-on on Thursday.

“Swears was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:30pm on April 15, 2021,” Brouthers said.

Officials with the St. George Police Department said the suspect was wanted on a kidnapping charge out of West Palm Beach.

The coroner has ordered the body to undergo an autopsy at the Medical University of South Carolina on Monday morning. The South Carolina Highway Patrol and the Dorchester County Coroner’s Office are investigating.

Troopers with the Highway Patrol said the crash happened on Thursday morning on US Highway 15 near Fox Run Road. Sgt. Sonny Collins said the crash involved a 2012 Ford Fusion which was traveling north and a 2013 Ford Mustang which was traveling south and attempting to elude police.

According to Collins, the Mustang ran off the edge of the roadway, lost control and went over to the northbound lanes and struck the Fusion.

The driver of the Mustang was killed while the driver in the Fusion was transported to the hospital. Collins said both drivers were wearing their seatbelts, and the chase with the Mustang involved units with the St. George Police Department.

Officials with the St. George Police Department said they were contacted by law enforcement officials regarding a suspect sought by US Marshals on a kidnapping charge out of West Palm Beach.

Marshals were looking for the suspect who was traveling on I-95 heading north, police said. Authorities reported that the suspect had already traveled past Yemassee and was heading towards Walterboro.

St. George police were called in to help locate the suspect, and one of their officers intercepted the suspect’s vehicle on I-95 at mile marker 74.

According to police, when the officer went to make a traffic stop on the suspect just before Exit 82 the suspect started a high pursuit.

Officials with the St. George Police Department said over the next 20 minutes the police chief and two police officers chased the suspect into Orangeburg County, then back into Dorchester County down Highway 15 where the crash occurred with the Ford Fusion.

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