Coroner: Case of motorcyclist struck by deputy ruled a homicide


The death of a motorcyclist in Summerville has been ruled a homicide by Dorchester County Coroner Paul Brouthers less than a month after a grand jury decided a deputy involved would not be indicted.

In a statement released Thursday afternoon, Brouthers said the pursuing officer in the April 19 crash "engaged the fleeing motorcyclist by applying deadly force with this patrol vehicle, causing the motorcyclist to lose control and crash."

Brouthers goes on to state the following: "The coroner's standard for determining homicide as a manner of death includes the action of one person directly causing the death of another. A death that occurs as a result of a felony is also considered homicide. A violent death may stem from some kind of deliberate or purposeful action, but intent to cause death need not be present or proved for the classification of homicide."

The coroner said his responsibility is to determine cause and manner of death, and whether or not to prosecute or apply criminal charges does not lie with his office.

Killed in the crash was Robert L. Clark, Jr. He was being pursued by Berkeley County Deputy James Vansant in a chase that stretched from the College Park area of Ladson to North Main Street in Summerville. Speeds during the crash reached 112 mph.

BCSO officials said Thursday Deputy Vansant remains on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

Sheriff Duane Lewis met Thursday with members of the S.C. Highway Patrol investigative team that to review the findings of the SCHP's investigation of the incident, and will review those findings as part of the internal investigation.

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