Lance Cpl. Doug Sarvis thought he was making a routine traffic stop the day he found himself involved in a vehicle pursuit and shooting in September 2013.
The incident and his actions led to his being named officer of the year by Coastal Carolina Shields, a group of retired law enforcement officers, on Tuesday night.
Organization president Dennis Cangelosi said Sarvis’ tale stood out above all others in 2013.
“After the point where he believed he might have been shot ... he continued to go along the chase and help apprehend the perpetrators,” Cangelosi said. “That’s a point where the bravery and persistence paid off. He did his duties above and beyond the call.”
He said Sarvis was heroic and brave in his response to the car chase.
Sarvis started his career with Horry County police before becoming a trooper with the S.C. Highway Patrol in 2007. He said he has been in a similar situation before, but couldn’t comment further because the case remains pending.
Sarvis also couldn’t talk more about the incident that won him the honor because that case also is pending, but said he was surprised and honored the Coastal Carolina Shield chose to award him.
Two people are charged in the chase and shooting which started when Sarvis attempted to stop the vehicle, authorities said.
Richard Lee Cochran IV, 20, and Shannon Marie Keiser, 33, both of Conway are jailed at J. Reuben Long Detention Center on charges related to the incident. The two have been incarcerated since Sept. 14.
Cochran is charged with three counts of attempted murder, possession of a weapon during violent crime, resisting arrest with a deadly weapon, unlawful carrying of a pistol and failure to stop for a blue light, Horry County police Lt. Robert Kegler said at the time of his arrest. Keiser is charged with obstructing justice.
Cochran also faces charges of driving without a license and a seatbelt violation from the S.C. Highway Patrol in the incident.
Dash cam video released in December shows that Sarvis attempted to stop a sport utility vehicle about 6 p.m. Sept. 14, but the vehicle went through a parking lot and sped away on U.S. 501 near Cultra Road.
The chase continued for about 10 minutes along U.S. 501, Enoch Road, S.C. 319 and ended on S.C. 22 when the vehicle ran off the roadway. The video shows the driver turn and fire five gunshots at the trooper as the driver got on S.C. 22.
The vehicle careened off the side of S.C. 22 and stopped in a field. The driver fled into a nearby wooded area while firing gunshots at police, the video showed. Officers set up a perimeter and searched the area for the driver, who police identified as Cochran.
Officers shot back at Cochran, but no one was hurt during the incident, authorities said.
Keiser was a passenger in the vehicle and tried to run away when it stopped, but she was taken into custody, Kegler said.
Sarvis grew up in Horry County, where his father, Jerry, also was a police officer. He said he followed in his father’s footsteps, but isn’t sure what specifically drew him to the job.
Jerry Sarvis, who is now an officer in Tabor City, N.C., said he’s proud to see his son honored for his actions, but also is glad he wasn’t hurt in last year’s shooting.