LAKE CITY, S.C. (WBTW) — Lake City police will honor Lt. John Stewart one year after he was killed in a crash during a pursuit one year ago, according to the city.
Officers will wear bands across their badges for one week starting on Saturday, the one-year anniversary of Stewart’s death on Sept. 17, 2021.
Stewart, originally from Passaic, New Jersey, called Lake City his home. He was with Lake City police for 13 years and served as a criminal investigator with organized crimes and narcotics, according to the city. Shortly before his death, he received his dream assignment to the U.S. Marshals Task Force.
“His physically large stature was only diminished by the love he had in his heart for this profession,” Police Chief Jody Cooper said in a statement. “He was a police officer and demonstrated at every service call the highest level of professionalism, compassion, and empathy for his community. Lt. Stewart’s approach to each call for assistance from the community was that of a ‘Peace Officer.’ His big-brother approach and demeanor allowed Lt. Stewart to be a person you could rely on and respect when you were having a bad day or wanted an honest opinion.”
“We love you brother,” Cooper said. “And don’t worry, we will take the rest of your calls.”
Jermain Ryan Roberson, 29, of Olanta, South Carolina, was charged with reckless homicide, involuntary manslaughter, hit and run resulting in death and failure to stop for blue light resulting in death, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
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.
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, 2021.
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.