COTTAGEVILLE -- The former mayor of this small Colleton County town was fatally shot by a town police officer Monday on a dirt road off Griffith Acres Road.
About 4 p.m., Bert Reeves was in an altercation with an officer, County Coroner Richard Harvey said. The officer, whose name was not released, drew his gun and fired it once, Harvey said.
Reeves, 40, was taken to Colleton Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Further details, such as what led to the altercation, or how many officers or witnesses were present, were not released Monday.
Town Police Chief John Craddock did not return a message left with the county dispatcher.
The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating, as it always does in officer-involved shootings.
Officers from the Cottageville Police Department and the Colleton County Sheriff's Office blocked off a portion of Griffith Acres Road while investigators were going over the crime scene, taking photos and making notes. Police would not allow news reporters to take photographs or videos of the crime scene.
Crime-scene technicians spent much of their time going over a black pickup truck that was parked in the middle of a dirt road off Griffith Acres Road. The truck's doors were open. Reeves lived in Cottageville but did not live near the incident location.
Linda Gatch, who lives across the street from the scene of the shooting, said she and her husband were out when it happened."When we came back, there was a good 10 police cars here," she said. "I thought our house was on fire."
She had heard that Reeves got into a fight with a police officer and the officer shot him, she said.
Gatch also said her neighborhood is usually pretty quiet. "It's funny, somebody came to visit us yesterday and they said, 'Oh, what a nice, quiet community you have.' "
Reeves ran for mayor in an attempt to broaden the town's tax base and end its reputation as a speed trap.
Ironically, his tenure became marked by his own traffic tribulations.
In March 2006, a Colleton County sheriff's deputy wrote Reeves a ticket for going 103 mph in a 55 mph zone.
The mayor's speeding ticket made national news. Three months later another deputy pulled Reeves' pickup truck over for going 71 mph in a 55 mph zone. The deputy, not wanting to get involved in town politics, let Reeves go with a warning. Days after Reeves received the warning, The Post and Courier published a recording from 2004 in which Reeves is heard scolding a town police officer for not writing more speeding tickets to pay for his job.
Reeves shrugged off calls for his resignation from some residents and the issue all but disappeared when, in July of 2006, Reeves suffered a serious brain injury when he flipped his truck on Pierce Road.
Reeves' family and attorney denied the S.C. Highway Patrol's allegations that he was driving under the influence at the time. Troopers later dropped the charges.
Reeves was released from the hospital in August of 2006 and in October attended a Town Council meeting, his first since having had the wreck. He said at the meeting that he was 100 percent recovered from his head injury.
Despite what he said, a common perception among residents was that he was never quite the same after the wreck.
In December 2006, Reeves resigned after troopers, responding to a Freedom of Information Act request, released a toxicology report showing that he had a by-product of THC, the mind-altering chemical in marijuana, in his blood system at the time of the wreck.
Troopers said the report did not provide enough evidence to prosecute Reeves on a charge of driving under the influence of drugs.