Seven minutes after she tried to stop the driver of U-Haul truck on suspicion of drunken driving Sunday, a Charleston County sheriff’s deputy shot the man in the arm and the back during a confrontation in Georgetown County, according to her radio communications.
The motorist, who was recovering today at a Myrtle Beach hospital, faces charges of driving under the influence, first-degree assault, resisting arrest and failure to stop for blue lights, sheriff’s Maj. Jim Brady said this afternoon.
Brady said that the man had an Oklahoma driver’s license for 53-year-old James Henry Helms of West Whilshire Boulevard in Oklahoma City, but that investigators had not yet confirmed the identity.
Deputy Kim Poirer, who has been with the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office since January 2011, shocked the suspect with a Taser several times when he didn’t cooperate after a short pursuit.
The man fought for her handgun, but she broke free, and he ran.
During a foot chase, the man started fumbling through his pockets, and the deputy shot him, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The dispatch recordings were released this afternoon after The Post and Courier filed a Freedom of Information Act request.
They indicated that the episode started with a 911 call about noon Sunday from a motorist on northbound U.S. Highway 17 just south of Tibwin Road near McClellanville.
The caller said the U-Haul truck was three or four car lengths in front his own vehicle.
“He’s going all over the road,” he told the dispatcher.
Deputies were told to watch for the truck. Poirer radioed that she was at U.S. 17 and S.C. Highway 45 in McClellanville and would respond to the call.
The motorist soon called 911 again to report that the truck had done a U-turn at River Road and was heading southward.
When Poirer saw the truck about 20 minutes after the first call, it was northbound again near the South Santee Road intersection.
Poirer tried to stop the truck, which had an Arizona license plate, at 12:20 p.m. Its turn signal illuminated, but the truck didn’t pull over.
“Speed is 50 mph,” Poirer said. “There is absolutely no traffic.”
As the truck entered Georgetown County during the next two minutes, it picked up some speed: 55, then 60 mph. Other deputies started responding to lend a hand.
“It’s a U-Haul vehicle,” Poirer told them. “You can’t miss it.”
About 7 miles after Poirer first pulled behind the truck, it turned right onto Pole Yard Way, a dead-end road that leads to a public boat landing on the North Santee River.
Poirer said into her radio that she had the driver at gunpoint – a typical procedure for law officers after a vehicle pursuit.
But the radio went silent.
A supervisor asked if she was all right. A dispatcher requested a status update.
The first indication that something had gone wrong came when a backup deputy arrived to help out and heard the gunfire.
“We’ve got shots fired in the area,” he said about 12:27 p.m.
Other deputies indicated that they were speeding toward the scene.
“Suspect’s been shot. Suspect’s been shot,” Poirer told dispatchers. “I need (EMS) now.”
Poirer said that the suspect had been struck by bullets in the arm and the back. He was still breathing, she said, but he needed paramedics immediately.
“We’re all coming to you as fast as we can,” another deputy told her.
Poirer asked for a police dog to respond to the scene to sniff for items that the man threw out as he ran.
“Oh, please God,” a man moaned in the background.
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.