Moncks Corner man accused of kidnapping, Berkeley chase to remain jailed

Daniel Ward appeared Wednesday night in court in Moncks Corner for a bond hearing with Charleston attorney James Smiley. Ward is accused of kidnapping his estranged wife, leading Berkeley County deputies on a nearly 50-minute chase and then opening fire on them.

A Moncks Corner man laid in wait in his estranged wife’s trunk before kidnapping her and taking Berkeley County deputies on a nearly 50-minute chase, then opening fire on them, according to officials.

Daniel Brooks Ward, 34, whose street address has not been released, appeared Wednesday at a bond hearing for charges of kidnapping, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, failure to stop for blue lights, domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature and violating a court order of protection.

Judge Ava Elaine Bryant did not set bail on any of the charges except the violation of the court order, because he was entitled to bail on that charge, she said. It was set at $1,092.50 but Ward will remain held at the Berkeley County jail on the other charges.

The State Law Enforcement Division is expected to bring attempted murder charges against Ward.

His attorney, James Smiley did not ask for bail and waived Ward’s right to appear for another bond hearing in front of a circuit court judge within 30 days. He said his client had mental health issues that needed to be addressed while in custody.

Ward sat silently in the courtroom in an orange jumpsuit with his hands and feet shackled. On his arm, a tattoo read “simple man.”

His estranged wife, Brandi Ward was not at the hearing, but a victim advocate spoke on her behalf and requested that Ward remain in jail. A prosecutor and Berkeley County Chief Deputy Mike Cochran also requested that Ward be denied bail.

Brandi Ward’s attorney, Chasity Avinger spoke after the hearing and said the woman was not comfortable going to the hearing after what happened. She added that she was relieved about the outcome and in a safe location.

“Thankfully she can sleep tonight and doesn’t have to worry about something happening to her or her children,” Avinger said. “It really has been an extreme ordeal for her.”

Ward had a history of domestic violence issues and had been arrested at least seven times in the past year, according to Cochran.

In April 2015, he was accused of torching his wife’s home, causing $50,000 in damage. While on bond for that charge, he was arrested a few months later on charges of kidnapping, domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature and second-degree domestic violence, also involving his wife.

The 9th Circuit Solicitor’s Office subsequently filed a motion to revoke Ward’s bond but his wife spoke on his behalf, asked that a no contact order be lifted and he remain free, according to documents from the Solicitor’s Office. Judge R. Markley Dennis then denied the motion to revoke Ward’s bond.

Ward was due in court Thursday morning for again violating a protection order involving his wife. While she was on the phone in her car with the Solicitor’s Office to discuss why he wasn’t there, he showed up in her car with a gun, got behind the wheel and forced her in the passenger’s seat.

He then led Berkeley County deputies on a chase through multiple jurisdictions at speeds up to 110 mph, according to authorities. He hit several vehicles along the way, causing no serious injuries, and wrecked in the median near the Orangeburg exit on Interstate 95.

When deputies tried to approach the car, Ward starting shooting, authorities said. Three Berkeley County deputies and a Clarendon County deputy returned fire, hitting Ward and taking him into custody.

Smiley said after the hearing that Ward was heading to a mental hospital for help before last week’s incident unfolded, but Avinger said she believed that was just a convenient defense. She said mental assistance options have been discussed over the past year during court proceedings and he never took advantage before.

“If he was heading to a mental hospital, then unfortunately he was headed in the wrong direction and he hopped in the wrong car,” she said. “He made a conscious decision.”

Reach Melissa Boughton at 843-937-5594 or at Twitter.com/mboughtonPC.