Police chase ends in fatal crash

BERKELEY, S.C. (WCIV) -- The driver of a GMC pickup was being pursued by St. Stephen Police when the driver lost control of the car, left the roadway and struck a tree. The driver was pronounced dead on the scene.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol and the Berkeley County Coroner's Office are investigating the crash. According to the coroner's office, around 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday, police were pursuing a GMC Sonoma truck on Bull Head Road near Bonneau when the truck ran off the roadway and hit a tree.

The coroner's office has identified the driver as 53-year-old Ronald Smith of Bonneau. He was pronounced dead on the scene by Coroner Bill Salisbury who said cause of death was head trauma. Both the coroner and deputies say Smith was not wearing a seatbelt.

According to the Associated Press, Police Chief John Waters says Smith was suspected of shoplifting.

The AP reports an officer pulled the pickup over on U.S. 52 and when the officer got out of his cruiser, the truck took off and tried to run him down. Waters says the driver later rammed a patrol car and forced another car off the road.