2 North Augusta brothers killed during police chase

Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 6:46 AM
Last updated Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013 1:54 AM
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Two North Augusta brothers were killed Wednesday morning when their car struck a tree as they fled a Richmond County deputy.



Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton identified the men as Derrick Darden, 23, and Deante Darden, 22.

According to the sheriff’s office, Deputy Bert Gates, of the DUI Division, spotted the vehicle shortly after 2 a.m. driving erratically and speeding along Broad Street.

Gates stopped their vehicle at Fourth and Reynolds streets, but it sped away when the officer got out of his car to approach it, the office reported.

He pursued the car across the Gordon Highway bridge into North Augusta, where the driver lost control and hit a tree in the 500 block of Carolina Springs Road.

Gates, a 22-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, complied with department policy on vehicle pursuits and will not be disciplined, Lt. Calvin Chew said. Gates was not injured in the chase, which authorities said lasted no more than one minute.

“It was quick. The deputy was calling for assistance, but they didn’t get there till after the fact,” Chew said. “He did everything accurately.”

Jennie Giles, great-aunt of Derrick and Deante Darden, said the brothers were in downtown Augusta at a nightclub Tuesday night. She does not know why the men fled from police.

“I’d describe them as OK guys. They have been in some small stuff (with the law),” Giles said.

According to Aiken County court records, Deante Darden was charged with driving with a suspended license and reckless driving in August 2011. He had two previous charges for driving without a license.

Derrick Darden and Deante Darden were charged in Richmond County with possession of marijuana in October 2009. In 2011, Derrick Darden was charged with possession of cocaine and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

Giles, who visited with the men’s mother Wednesday morning, said the family was devastated. She questioned whether the police chase should have been stopped before the wreck occurred.

“Innocent people out there could get hurt, not just the people they are chasing,” Giles said.

Neither man was wearing a seat belt and both died of body trauma, Carlton said. An autopsy was to be held Wednesday in Newberry, S.C., and toxicology tests are pending.

Their mother, Antionette Hamilton, of North Augusta, last saw them Tuesday night, when they were leaving for a birthday party. Hamilton told her sons she would see them the next morning.

“I’m torn apart,” Hamilton said through tears. “I think (the deputy) should have stopped.”

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, like most law enforcement agencies, works with neighboring jurisdictions to pursue suspects, Chew said. Crossing the Savannah River into South Carolina was an ordinary act.

“When they get into a chase, we back off,” Chew said. “They never got there.”

Hamilton said her sons lived with her off and on.

Giles said the brothers spent most of their time together and had the same friends.

RICHMOND COUNTY SHERIFF’S POLICY

The following procedures apply when deputies are pursuing a suspect attempting to flee:

• Notify dispatch of location, direction, speed and description of fleeing vehicle and its occupants

• Operate emergency lights and sirens

• May exceed speed limit and proceed through a red light or stop sign after slowing down

• If crossing county lines, deputy must notify dispatch to alert appropriate agencies.

Consideration should be given to discontinue a pursuit if:

• The pursuit enters a populated area or an unreasonable risk to the general public exists

• Visibility or road conditions raise risks

• The suspect can be identified for future apprehension

• The pursuing vehicle or supervisor deems it necessary.

Comments (43) Add comment
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CobaltGeorge
164292
Points
CobaltGeorge 01/09/13 - 04:08 pm
6
3
I See I Got 3 Downers On My 02:27

You want me to give prayers to "Parents" or "Parent" who raised and cared for 2 son's for 23 and 22 years didn't realize what was coming down the Pike and did nothing about it, Sorry, If it was me, I wouldn't want prayers because it would be my fault for what happened.

You get what you sow, care for and fertilize.

allhans
23998
Points
allhans 01/09/13 - 05:17 pm
6
1
..."deputy with the DUI

..."deputy with the DUI Division spotted the vehicle shortly after 2 a.m. driving erratically and at a high rate of speed along Broad Street."
The public was at risk before the police spotted them............
Go Cobalt George. These is a history here.

CobaltGeorge
164292
Points
CobaltGeorge 01/09/13 - 05:47 pm
5
3
allhans

The public was at risk before the police spotted them............

Days, Months, Years...Maybe a long history!

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 01/09/13 - 06:53 pm
6
1
'According to the Richmond

'According to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, a deputy with the DUI Division spotted the vehicle shortly after 2 a.m. driving erratically and at a high rate of speed along Broad Street. '
The two were ALREADY driving erratically and speeding. Without the police chase, they could have hit or killed someone because of the way they were driving. I sympathize with the family, but the brothers did this to themselves. Deante, from what I've heard, already had a previous incident for reckless driving. It was only a matter of time before someone got hurt.

TCB22
652
Points
TCB22 01/09/13 - 07:28 pm
5
6
Not surprised

I'm not surprised that, basically, the vast majority of you who comment here are totally supportive of high speed police chases and do believe that the penalty for driving erratically and speeding (how fast was the speeding, by the way) is death. Fine, well and good for you.

Just remember that two brothers are going to be buried, gone forever. I pray that none of you ever fall victim to either the speeding police vehicle or the person running from the police one day.

If using bad judgment was cause for dying, how many of you would be here? Police chases are nuts. That's all.

itsanotherday1
45283
Points
itsanotherday1 01/09/13 - 07:45 pm
5
0
I suppose those of you

I suppose those of you wringing hands over the potential for peripheral damage from fleeing felons also do not support dropping bombs and missiles on enemy bad guys because of the potential damage to innocent bystanders...

Just like controlling guns; put some onerous penalties on felony attempting to elude , and many would decide it isn't worth it. It gives the officer a better feel that the runner really does have more to hide than a DUI.

GnipGnop
12443
Points
GnipGnop 01/09/13 - 07:53 pm
5
3
Ok...devil's advocate here....

So if a suspect starts shooting at the police and there is a crowd of people around the police shouldn't shoot back because innocent people may be hit by the LEO even though the suspect can hit as many as he wants? Same with a car...if they know the police will not chase they will never stop. How do you know they still won't kill someone? I do know this...these two guys won't run from the police anymore and us tax payers won't have to pay room and board for them. Good riddance to scum...

Riverman1
86792
Points
Riverman1 01/09/13 - 08:35 pm
8
3
Sure it's a tough call

Orlando is probably the most known city that has adopted a no high speed chase policy UNLESS there is good reason to believe a VIOLENT FELONY is in progress. Their stats proved people don't turn into runners because a no chase policy is adopted. They did not experience an increase in runners. Remember the people at risk include the police officers and innocent bystanders.

specsta
6592
Points
specsta 01/09/13 - 09:02 pm
3
6
Review Time

This would be a good time for the Augusta Commissioners and the Sheriff to review departmental policies on police chases. Maybe they will implement the Pursuit Management Continuum that I've read about concerning other cities' police procedures...

Gage Creed
17856
Points
Gage Creed 01/09/13 - 09:26 pm
9
1
Maybe fugitives from justice

Maybe fugitives from justice will adhere to the Pursuit Management Continuum.....SNORT!

Seems these young men didn't adhere to other laws....

harley_52
23959
Points
harley_52 01/09/13 - 10:21 pm
5
1
"Their stats proved people don't turn into runners....

....because a no chase policy is adopted. They did not experience an increase in runners."

That's their story and they're sticking to it.

reba530
65
Points
reba530 01/09/13 - 11:31 pm
1
0
OK YOU PEOPLE SO YOU WANT THE
Unpublished

OK YOU PEOPLE SO YOU WANT THE COPS TO STOP DOING HIGH SPEED CHASES. THAT IS JUST GOING TO LET EVERYONE KNOW THAT WHEN PEOPLE GET PULLED OVER IT IS OK TO HAUL BOOK IT FROM THE COPS. IT WAS VERY SAD ABOUT THE BROTHERS BUT IF THEY WOULD HAVE STOPPED THEN THEY WOULD PROBABLY BE IN JAIL NOT DECEASED. I FEEL FOR THEIR FAMILIES. AND TO YOU COPS OTHER THAN WHAT JUST HAPPENED KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.

scoopdedoop64
2423
Points
scoopdedoop64 01/10/13 - 10:11 am
6
1
Consequences

There are consequences for every action. Unfortunately, the consequences for these two brothers was higher than expected. In my opinion the police handled it properly given the situation and the real time decisions made at the scene. I think trying to blame the police for this situation is fruitless and misses the real point: if you commit a crime you will pay either by time in jail or with your life. We need to quit trying to find ways to blame others for our actions.

dichotomy
34332
Points
dichotomy 01/10/13 - 12:28 pm
3
0
"They did not experience an

"They did not experience an increase in runners"

Yeh, and they certainly did not experience any increase in catching the ones that did run did they.

I'm sorry folks, I just can't buy into the "we don't chase" policy. Yes, sometimes innocent people get killed. Innocent people get killed in car accidents every day but we still drive. It's all in the cost of doing business. People who run from the police, whatever reason large or small, are immediately transformed into criminals.....serious criminals that should be caught. Your odds of being killed by a high speed chase are insignificant compared to the odds of being killed by a speeding texter or one of our local sliding and gliding lane changers you see out here every day. Some say that even one incident is too many. I understand their point of view and I simply disagree. I would rather everyone who is tempted to run from the police know for a fact that they will be chased until they are caught or injured/dead. There is no telling what someone who will run from the police will do for their next crime if they get away with no attempt to catch them. There should be no question in anyone's mind that if they run they will be chased and caught or killed. Instead of an announced "Pursuit Management Continuum" policy I would rather we have an announced and very public "We will chase you and catch you one way or another" policy.

David Collins
6
Points
David Collins 01/10/13 - 01:39 pm
4
1
Responsibility

I am also a retired LEO. When a pursuit ends this way it is tragic to all parties and familys involved. However, put the responsibility for this with the proper person. The law breakers decided on this course of action, not the Police.

happythoughts
25
Points
happythoughts 01/11/13 - 12:11 am
0
2
Two wrongs don't make a right

The Richmond County deputy should not have created a worse situation by pursuing the vehicle at a high rate of speed, it's just too dangerous and not worth the risks involved. He may have complied with department policy on vehicle pursuits but that obviously needs to be changed because the deputy was speeding as well and that is just wrong. My sympathy to the family.

itsanotherday1
45283
Points
itsanotherday1 01/11/13 - 01:23 am
0
1
OK Happy, so you are saying

OK Happy, so you are saying that LEO's are out of line if they are speeding. Does that include when they are enroute to your house for a burglary in progress? If not, why not? In both cases they are speeding down the road, lights and sirens on,potentially endangering other motorists.

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