FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — A Florence County man is facing reckless homicide and other charges in the Sept. 17 death of Lake City Police Department Lt. John Stewart during a police pursuit, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
Jermain Ryan Roberson, 29, of Olanta, South Carolina, also faces charges of reckless homicide, involuntary manslaughter, hit and run resulting in death, and failure to stop for blue light resulting in death, SLED said Wednesday afternoon in a news release.
According to an affidavit, Roberson was trying to evade officers on Chandler Mill Road when he “struck and caused the death” of Stewart. Information in the affidavit leaves it unclear whether Stewart was in his cruiser when he was hit. News13 has asked SLED for clarification but has not heard back.
Roberson continued to flee after allegedly hitting Stewart, the affidavit said. A short time, later he allegedly was involved in a carjacking on Frierson Road in Lake City that led to another pursuit. It ended after police performed a PIT maneuver on his car, causing it to crash on Central Road near Olanta, authorities said after his arrest.
He was subsequently charged with kidnapping, carjacking, first-degree assault and battery, and failure to stop for a blue light related to that incident, according to Major Mike Nunn of the Florence County Sheriff’s Office. He was booked into the Florence County Detention Center on Sept. 17.
The affidavit said the original pursuit began when a Lake City police officer attempted to pull over Roberson’s vehicle for a vehicle registration violation. While fleeing, Roberson’s vehicle hit Stewart near the intersection of Chandler Mill Road and North Matthews Road, the affidavit said.
The affidavit also said the charges are based on statements from officers and other witnesses, along with physical evidence and video surveillance camera footage.
SLED began the investigation at the request of the Lake City Police Department. The case will be prosecuted by the 12th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.
Count on News13 for updates to this developing story.