Kidnapping suspect had targeted victim before, deputies say


The man accused of kidnapping his estranged wife and leading officers on a chase before being shot this week had been arrested several times in the past year in crimes that allegedly targeted the same woman, according to the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office.

Daniel Ward, 34, of Moncks Corner was airlifted Thursday morning to Palmetto Richland Hospital with gunshot wounds after he crashed on Interstate 95 in Orangeburg County.

He could be released from the hospital this weekend, Chief Deputy Mike Cochran said Friday.

“My understanding is that they are non-life-threatening injuries, and he is awaiting the surgeon’s final opinion,” Cochran said in an email. “We expect him to be released before the end of the weekend. We have deputies sitting with him for security purposes until such time that he is released.”

Ward is facing charges including four counts of attempted murder for allegedly shooting at deputies, kidnapping, failure to stop for a blue light, violating an order of protection and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

Thursday’s episode was the culmination of multiple run-ins with deputies during the past year. He had been arrested at least seven times during that span in Berkeley County, Cochran said.

In April 2015, he was accused of torching his wife’s home, causing $50,000 in damage.

About a month ago, while free on bail, he was arrested on domestic violence charges after his wife, Brandi Ward, 33, of Summerville, said he kicked her during a confrontation.

He was free again on April 12, when deputies tried to stop Ward’s Honda on a traffic violation. He led them on a chase that hit 108 mph before he surrendered, they said.

On the same day, his wife reported that he sent her messages threatening to harm her, then to get police officers to shoot him. It was a violation of the protective order she had against him, the report stated.

He was out again Thursday, when this happened, according to Sheriff Duane Lewis:

Ward was due in court that morning for violating the protection order involving his wife. Sometime around 8:30 a.m., his wife was sitting in her car and called the 9th Circuit Solicitor’s Office to discuss why he had not showed up. Ward suddenly showed up in the car with a gun, got behind the wheel and forced his wife into the passenger’s seat. The Solicitor’s Office transferred the call to 911.

Ward’s wife gave the operator a description of the dark gold 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix and their location and direction of travel. She also told the operator he had threatened either to kill himself or force cops to kill him.

At 9:12 a.m., a deputy spotted the car on S.C. Highway 176 in the Lebanon community near Holly Hill. Ward refused to stop and led officers from several agencies on an hourlong chase up I-95 through Orangeburg and Clarendon counties and then back down I-95 into Orangeburg County.

Ward hit several vehicles along the way, causing no serious injuries, and wrecked in the median near the Orangeburg exit. When deputies tried to approach the car, Ward starting shooting, Lewis said. Three Berkeley County deputies and a Clarendon County deputy returned fire, hitting Ward and taking him into custody.

Andrew Knapp contributed to this report.

Reach Dave Munday at 843-937-5553.