U-Haul driver shot by Charleston County deputy recently left prison after assault, fraud convictions

The driver of a U-Haul truck who was shot by a deputy Sunday has a past of assaulting police officers, using phony names and passing off counterfeit checks and driver’s licenses, according to federal court records.

And he just left a federal prison earlier this spring.

Ricky Anthony Jennings, 52, of Sugarland, Texas, was arrested in October 2007 after he tried to cash a fake check at a bank in Richmond Hill, Ga.

Police confronted him outside the bank, and he ran, according to an affidavit.

When the officers caught up to him, they said he used a stun gun disguised as a cellphone to shock the officers, who then used a Taser to shock him. Two officers suffered minor injuries in the confrontation.

In his van, officers found a counterfeit Georgia driver’s license with someone else’s name.

He also was hit with a Taser on Sunday as Charleston County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Kim Poirer fought to handcuff him after a short pursuit. After the two separated, Poirer told investigators that Jennings reached into his pockets, so she shot him twice: in an arm and his back.

Investigators needed some time to find his true identity after he was found with a driver’s license for 53-year-old James Henry Helms of Oklahoma City.

Sheriff’s Maj. Jim Brady said deputies and agents from the State Law Enforcement Division identified Jennings through fingerprints. Jennings spent time in a Georgia state prison in connection with the assault on the police officers and another two years in federal prison for 10 fraud convictions.

He was released April 17 and was scheduled to be on federal probation for five years.

Jennings remained today in a Myrtle Beach hospital as he recovered from the two bullet wounds. Brady said this morning that Jennings’ condition was stable and that he was improving.

In the Sunday incident, he will face charges of driving under the influence, first-degree assault, resisting arrest and failure to stop for blue lights.

Deputies said Jennings was driving drunk Sunday afternoon in a U-Haul truck near McClellanville. When Poirer tried stopping him on northbound U.S. Highway 17, he led the deputy on a 3-mile pursuit into Georgetown County, they said.

The U-Haul pulled onto a dirt street near the North Santee River. Its driver got out and walked toward Poirer, according to a video taken from the deputy’s car.

After Poirer pointed her handgun at him and ordered him to show his hands, he turned around and walked away, the video showed. Poirer ran after him and out of her camera’s view.

Poirer told investigators that she then fought with the man, who grabbed at her weapon. She stuck him several times with a Taser, but he continued to resist her attempts to handcuff him, the Sheriff’s Office said.

After the deputy broke free, she shot him because he was fumbling through his pockets, the Sheriff’s Office said.

SLED will determine whether the shooting was warranted given the circumstances Poirer faced. She has worked as a Charleston County deputy for more than two years.

Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.