Christian bikers were calling for the vengeance of God on a police officer they say ran them off the road Saturday during a charity ride through Jamestown.
The town's police chief said some bikers fell when they locked up their brakes when the officer got behind them after they disregarded a stop sign.
The Highway Patrol was called in to handle the accident. A spokeswoman for the agency said Thursday afternoon that an incident report would be available Friday.
Jamestown is a tiny town in Berkeley County known for the Hell Hole Swamp Festival and traffic tickets.
The main attraction is the gas station and convenience store at the intersection of U.S. Highway 17-A and S.C. Highway 41.
A police officer is often at the gas station to nab anybody who disregards the speed limit or the stop signs.
About 40 to 50 members and friends of the Disciple Christian Motorcycle Club were riding through the Lowcountry Saturday to raise money for the American Diabetes Association, Club President James Johnson said. The route took them east on U.S. 17-A through Jamestown.
Several of the bikers stopped at the intersection to watch traffic while the other bikers went through the intersection as a group, Johnson said. The bikers say two officers came out of the gas station after them, and one of them caused several bikes to wreck as he came around them on the left. Three bikers were taken to a hospital for treatment, including a 17-year-old girl who was scraped up pretty badly but is recovering.
The reaction on Facebook was outrage.
"Please pray for those injured," Johnson posted on his Facebook page. "And the vengeance of God on that Officer."
He got several amens.
"Praying that the sword of righteousness comes down on this officers head," William Heaton posted.
"Vengeance is mine sayeth the LORD," David Winchell added.
Johnson's tone was more moderate when contacted by telephone this week.
"I've been advised by our attorney just to say that there was an incident involving the Jamestown Police Department where several motorcycles went down," he said.
Katheryn Cousins-Brennan of Goose Creek, the mother of the 17-year-old, was more outspoken. She and her husband were riding with their two daughters Saturday.
"The officers' aggressive actions caused a chain reaction," she said.
"The officer came over into their lane and forced them off the road. I am very distraught and upset about this."
Jamestown Police Chief Jay High said the Jamestown police officer and a Berkeley County deputy were not at fault.
"A large group of motorcycles disregarded a stop sign and while a county deputy was attempting a traffic stop from the rear, my officer activated his blue lights and siren and began passing riders on the left, in another lane to catch up to the foremost riders," he said.
"During this time some bikes abruptly slowed and one locked up his brakes and went down. This accident was not related to the officer's actions, but was captured up ahead of him by his in-car video."
The chief was not available to show the video late Thursday afternoon but offered to show it at a later time.
He sent some screen shots from the video by email. He said the video showed that the bikers locked their brakes and went down while the officer was behind them and that the officer passed the bikers in the left lane.
No tickets were issued because the crowd was getting out of hand and the officers didn't want the situation to escalate, High said.
"When you have a large group like that, mob mentality rules," he said.
The Jamestown officer didn't write up a report because he didn't issue any tickets and was not involved in the accident, High said.
The Berkeley County Sheriff's Office did not respond to a request for information on the deputy's actions Saturday.
Charleston attorney Frank Cornely is representing some of the bikers.
He said he was researching the accident and had not yet seen any reports or the video Thursday. "It's really kind of sketchy," he said.
Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.
Earlier versions of this story incorrectly identified U.S. Highway 17-A.
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