Police ID woman shot by officer

Jacquelyn Stewart

A woman who was shot by a Charleston police officer after she reportedly tried to run him over Wednesday was wanted on charges of fraudulently obtaining drugs and violating her probation.

The State Law Enforcement Division on Thursday identified the woman as Jacquelyn Stewart, 26, of North Charleston. She has a long criminal history, filled mostly with arrests for passing bad checks, bank fraud and traffic offenses, SLED records show.

Stewart is in the hospital and has not been charged in the West Ashley incident. Charges are pending, said Jennifer Timmons, SLED public information officer.

Police said this is not the first time Stewart has been accused of using her vehicle as a weapon.

On July 19, her boyfriend, 28-year-old Corey Lamar of Charleston, told police Stewart tried to run him down at the corner of Sycamore and Battery avenues after they argued over $7 she wanted so she could buy cigarettes. After he got out of her gray Chevrolet Yukon, Stewart allegedly followed Lamar, drove up on the sidewalk and struck a fire hydrant and stop sign in her attempts to mow him down, according to a police report. Lamar was not injured.

Stewart later called 911 and told dispatchers she crashed her vehicle after Lamar scratched her face while she was driving. She claimed to have an audio recording that would support her story, but police were unable to track her down to speak with her in person, a police report states.

Police said Stewart was shot Wednesday after she ignored Cpl. Jeffrey Soniak's commands to stop and tried to run him down at the intersection of Sam Rittenberg Boulevard and S.C. Highway 61. At the time, she was trying to escape from police after another officer recognized her as a woman wanted by multiple agencies.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control on July 30 issued two warrants for Stewart's arrest, charging her with two counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud, according to DHEC spokesman Thom Berry. Stewart is accused of attempting to obtain hydrocodone, a prescription painkiller, from several Lowcountry pharmacies, Berry said.

A drug control agent served the warrants Wednesday night, Berry said.

Stewart also was wanted by the S.C. Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services for violating probation on a 2005 conviction for crime against a federally chartered financial institution, a spokeswoman said. She was accused in that case of opening a checking account at a Wachovia bank branch in North Charleston using a bogus South Carolina driver's license she obtained using her roommate's stolen Social Security card and birth certificate. She reportedly used the same documentation to secure a $756 loan from 1st Franklin Financial Corp. in North Charleston, according to arrest affidavits.

The probation department did not specify what Stewart did to violate the terms of her release or why a warrant was issued for her arrest in April. She faced a maximum sentence of five years in prison on the financial charge if her probation was revoked.

Stewart also had a bench warrant issued for her arrest in Dorchester County, sheriff's Maj. John Garrison said.

A Charleston police incident report released Thursday morning offers new details about the events that preceded the shooting. According to the report:

A plainclothes officer in an unmarked car saw the woman leaving the T.J. Maxx department store in the Westwood Plaza Shopping Center at 1:48 p.m. The officer noticed the woman met the description of a suspect wanted by DHEC.

The officer told dispatchers that she was getting into a gray Chevrolet SUV and requested another unit because he had a family member in the car with him. The officer followed the SUV at a distance, but the driver apparently noticed him because she tried to maneuver away from the patrol car in a bank parking lot on Belgrade Avenue.

After a short game of cat-and-mouse, the suspect eventually pulled up near the officer's car. The officer identified himself and told her to pull over and to wait for another police officer. When she asked why, the officer told her that they needed to speak with her. She said, "OK" and then drove off.

While the officer turned his car around, he watched as the SUV turned onto Sam Rittenberg Boulevard and then Gardner Avenue, where it came to a dead end. The officer saw the woman walk away from the SUV and then re-enter the vehicle. The driver then drove "erratically" back toward Sam Rittenberg.

The officer reported that the woman weaved through traffic on Sam Rittenberg as she approached the intersection with Ashley River Road.

She came to a stop at the intersection, apparently stuck at the traffic light. The officer stopped his car in the far right lane next to the Circle K gas station when the marked police cruiser approached the intersection.

According to police and witnesses, Soniak tried to get her to stop, but she turned hard toward the uniformed officer, who had jumped out of his car, and struck multiple vehicles while trying to flee. Soniak, a 14-year-veteran, fired multiple shots, hitting the woman at least once.