Bail was set at $101,000 Thursday for a Myrtle Beach woman accused of dragging an Horry County Sheriff’s deputy by her car Wednesday afternoon.
Injuries to Cpl. Paul Abijian were not life threatening, according to Jeff Benton, spokesman for Horry County Sheriff’s Office. The woman, Kimberly Ruth of Myrtle Beach, is charged with first-degree assault and battery, resisting arrest and malicious injury to personal property. Her bail was set during a bond hearing Thursday.
Judge Monte Harrelson heard arguments from Horry County deputies and Ruth’s attorney, though Abijian could not attend court due to his injuries. Benton read a statement from Abijian, which argued that the “severity of this event should be taken into consideration” during the bond hearing. Ruth could face a sentence up to 10 years each for assault and battery and resisting arrest, and up to 30 days for injury to property, Harrellson said.
Ruth, 52, is a self-employed massage therapist and has lived in Myrtle Beach for 17 years, according to Regina Ward, her attorney. Ruth is originally from Pennsylvania and does not have any family in the area, which hinders her ability to post bond, Ward said.
“It’s put her in a bit of a bind to not have family here, for bond or emotional support,” Ward said during the hearing. “I’m sure there is something that happened [during the traffic stop] that caused this incident.”
Ward asked that Ruth be released on personal recognizance, which means no money would be required, but Harrelson set bail at $101,000 instead. Ward said she’s confident Ruth will be able to post bail soon.
Future court dates in Ruth’s case have not yet been set.
“Obviously, there’s two sides to every story,” Ward said. “So it’s my job to find out her side of the story and evaluate all of the evidence.”
The deputy is married and has five children. Abijian is currently at home recovering, Benton said.
Benton said the incident, which is being investigated by Horry County police, occurred about 4 p.m. Wednesday in the Watsons Riverside community where Abijian had stopped a motorist.
Abijian, who Benton said is a veteran officer, conducted a traffic stop on Ruth related to an ongoing investigation. The woman got out of her vehicle during the stop and talked with the deputy, but she eventually began to question whether he actually was an officer, Benton said.
Benton said the woman became agitated, and hit Abijian in his chest. The deputy tried to arrest her after the strike and she began screaming for help then jumped into her vehicle and started to drive away with one handcuff attached to her arm, and the officer’s arm trapped in the door, according to Benton.
The deputy had reached into the vehicle to try to stop the woman from driving away, according to Benton. The deputy also deployed a Taser, Benton said, but it was unclear if the Taser hit the woman. Benton said the deputy was dragged about 60 feet by the vehicle, before the woman stopped and opened the door to release him.
Abijian’s shirt, gun and holster were damaged from the road. Benton said Abijian’s bulletproof vest saved him from sustaining much more severe road rash. The deputy then searched for the woman and found her in the car near her home on Oak Circle Drive.
Benton said Abijian’s police cruiser was not equipped with a dash camera.
“We shouldn’t have to worry about this type of thing,” Benton said after the hearing. “The officers shouldn’t have to be afraid every day. We all want to go home at the end of our shift.”