A North Carolina man is accused of punching a Kershaw County Sheriff’s deputy in the face and leading him on a rush hour car chase on Tuesday.
Rico Levern Ross, 32, is facing charges of speeding 105 mph in a 70-mph zone, driving with a suspended license, open container, failure to stop for law enforcement, second-degree assault and battery, and resisting arrest. Ross is being held at the Kershaw County Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing.
He’s previously been arrested for unlawful carrying of a weapon, receiving stolen goods, second-degree burglary, armed robbery with a deadly weapon and criminal domestic violence, according to the sheriff’s office release.
Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews said in a written statement that Ross was traveling westbound near mile marker 94 on Interstate 20, when a deputy clocked him at 105 mph around 5:45 p.m. During the traffic top, the deputy detected the odor of marijuana and asked Ross to step out of his white Honda Accord, Matthews said.
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After allegedly admitting to having drugs in his car to the deputy, Ross “became very nervous and struck the deputy in the forehead,” before hopping in his car and fleeing in the direction of Richland County, Matthews said.
The deputy gave chase and was joined by a Richland County Sheriff’s deputy, once the chase entered the county. The car chase ended at a Shell gas station on Clemson Road near Clemson Frontage Road off I-20.
Ross then took off on foot in the direction of a Bojangles that shares a building with the gas station’s store. It’s unclear in the news release if Ross made it inside the Bojangles, but he was arrested after diving to the floor and surrendering.
Matthews expressed frustration with Ross’ attack his deputy, calling the assault a “sucker punch” despite his deputy’s “courteous and professional” approach during the traffic stop.
“It seems like assaults against officers are the new norm throughout the U.S., but it won’t be the new norm in Kershaw County,” Matthews said. “I commend my deputy and the Richland County deputy for maintaining their professionalism during this incident.”