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Man charged in Bikefest incident also has outstanding drug charges

A North Charleston man facing charges he assaulted two S.C. Highway Patrol troopers during the Atlantic Beach Bikefest also has pending drug charges in Charleston County, according to his arrest record from the State Law Enforcement Division.

Brandon Lamar Simmons, 21, of North Charleston was charged Friday with two counts of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature that stems from an incident during the Atlantic Beach Bikefest, which resulted in a trooper firing shots at a car on U.S. 17 near Barefoot Landing after a traffic stop where the driver tried to drive off while the trooper was holding onto the car.

Simmons’ arrest record began in September 2007 when he was arrested for possession of marijuana and fined in May 2008, according to his arrest record. In March 2008, Simmons was arrested for felony possession of cocaine and in December 2008 he was charged with failure to appear and driving under suspension.

In July 2009, police charged Simmons again with driving under suspension and possession of marijuana, according to records. Those charges along with an arrest in January for possession with intent to distribute cocaine and possession of a controlled substance are pending.

The recent charges stemmed from about 11 p.m. on May 29 when a state trooper who was directing traffic directed Simmons' car to move through the intersection. The driver hesitated and then came to a stop, according to Sid Gaulden, a spokesman for the S.C. Department of Public Safety.

One of the two troopers at the intersection went to the driver's side of the car and knocked on the window. When the man inside, Simmons, opened the window the trooper smelled marijuana smoke, according to an initial report. The trooper told the driver to roll the window down all the way and then put his arm inside the car to put it in park. While the trooper was reaching into the car Simmons started to drive away.

The trooper was able to stay on his feet and he freed his arm before shooting at the Jeep three times as it sped away. The other trooper at the intersection jumped to get out of the way of the Jeep as Simmons drove off.

S.C. State Law Enforcement Division officers searched for the car with vehicles and a helicopter, backing up traffic for more than an hour. The vehicle was found in a parking lot in the restaurant row area a few hours after the incident but there were no signs of the three people in the car. The car had been cleaned out and was abandoned.

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