Local man held in Newberry

Jason Morris

CHARLESTON - A Ladson man accused of assaulting and tying up a Newberry County wrecker operator Friday morning was captured hours later by Charleston police in a King Street strip club.

Jason Randolph Morris, 25, of 257 Frankie Lane will be charged with first-degree burglary, kidnapping, carjacking and grand larceny, said Newberry County sheriff's Maj. Todd Johnson.

Morris was in a collision Tuesday on Interstate 26. His Ford Expedition sport utility vehicle and a trailer were towed away from the scene by Louis Wicker Wrecker Service, according to a release from the Newberry County Sheriff's Office.

The wrecker service repaired the truck so that Morris could go home Tuesday, but the trailer was still damaged and remained at the towing company, the release said.

On Friday morning, Morris allegedly went to the towing company lot on Wicker Road. The owner saw Morris on the property and told him he could not get the trailer until he paid the towing bill, the release said. Morris left the property, and the owner went to breakfast.

When the owner returned, he saw Morris about to drive off with the trailer hitched to the SUV. The owner confronted Morris, who struck the owner with his fists several times, according to the release.

Morris allegedly then took the owner into a woods, where he was going to tie him up, but the owner broke free. Morris then forced the owner into his SUV and drove him first to his house and then back to the wrecker service property, the release said. He punched the owner again and warned him not to contact law enforcement and then drove away with the trailer.

Because the trailer was damaged, Morris dropped it off on S.C. Highway 773, the release said.

Newberry authorities put out a "be on the lookout" bulletin for Morris, warning that he was a dangerous suspect, to be approached with extreme caution.

Shortly after 2 p.m., Charleston police were told Morris might be in the area of Upper King Street. Officers spotted a white Ford Expedition SUV that matched the description of Morris' vehicle in the parking lot of the 1337 King strip club, formerly known as the Wild Joker. "We went in and captured him without incident," said Charleston police Sgt. John Lightes.

Newberry County deputies came to Charleston Friday afternoon, Johnson said. Morris will be held in the Newberry County Jail pending a bond hearing.

Reach David W. MacDougall at macdougd@postandcourier.com or 937-5655.