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.

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CobaltGeorge
159419
Points
CobaltGeorge 01/09/13 - 08:56 am
11
14
Just Can't Wait

tell some bleeding heart demands that LEO's should never chase anyone. Our low life's would go free but just look at all the life's it would save!

Riverman1
84193
Points
Riverman1 01/09/13 - 09:44 am
12
4
CGEE, I used to think that

CGEE, I used to think that way, too, but I looked up the stats. Almost half the high speed chases result in accidents with injuries either to the runners, police or bystanders. In round numbers 90% are not committing a felony, except running. There is an organization of the families of innocent bystanders who have been killed as a result of high speed chases. Remember, it is very possible we could be reading this morning about two innocent bystanders who were killed instead of these two who stupidly tried to get away.

Itsallnew11
547
Points
Itsallnew11 01/09/13 - 10:05 am
14
0
I agree...

with both of . Doggon if you do and doggon if you don't. I pray for all involved including the deputy in the pursuit. As a former LEO, you never want it to end in tragedy but sometimes it does. Thank God no innocent bystanders were involved.

justthefacts
22020
Points
justthefacts 01/09/13 - 10:39 am
8
6
Car chases

I am with river on this one. Lots of innocent people become victims of high speed chases. There has to be a better way. Roadblocks, helicoptors, and such.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 01/09/13 - 10:42 am
14
2
They killed themselves

Before anyone whines that the LEO's should not have chased them.
Think hard on the fact they were speeding down Broad St. just before he stopped them. Then they felony evaded a police officer.

I guess they though a GA LEO would not chase them across the bridge into SC LEO territory, while waiting for a SC LEO take over the pursuit.

If I read the law right, Felony Pursuit allowed the chase across state lines.

single parent
395
Points
single parent 01/09/13 - 10:42 am
13
2
So True

You hit the nail on the head @ Itsallnew. I too am a former officer statistics are not a tool when human nature is in play. Statistics about people getting killed by seat belts is never a factor or for that matter people who die because the FDA will not release a drug because there is no money in the cure. Imagine this; in this story if a child had of been in the car it would have been death to the PO PO! Now if there was no chase and these two entered Wal Mart after getting away and knocked off 10 or so people then what?You never know who might of been behind that wheel and what they have done or why. In other words there are innocent by standers even in the event of changing a male babies diaper. Most do not run because they think they can get away, they run because Police are told not to chase them.
For the experts exactly what is supposed to be done? Throw a rock, spit at them, yell stop, tell their mama?

MarinerMan
2107
Points
MarinerMan 01/09/13 - 10:44 am
17
1
Sad Story, BUT...
Unpublished

I heard this morning that questions were being raised about why the two were chased by deputies. The much larger question is, WHY DID THE DRIVER DECIDE TO RUN ??!! My parents taught me that you showed respect for other adults, and especially teachers and police officers. If you got caught doing something wrong, you admitted it and took your punishment. This is not being taught anymore, for the most part. The driving brother decided that he was not going to get in trouble. Sad for the family, and maybe the other brother that died because of the decision made by the driving brother.

csrareader
1287
Points
csrareader 01/09/13 - 11:29 am
11
1
So the Law Enforcement

So the Law Enforcement Officers should just let the DUIs keep driving until they kill someone else on the highway? Sure....

bdouglas
5049
Points
bdouglas 01/09/13 - 12:30 pm
12
1
Both of the deceased had drug

Both of the deceased had drug convictions in Richmond County, and Derrick actually had a warrant out for his arrest according to case management records. Might be a good clue as to why they ran.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 01/09/13 - 12:43 pm
0
0
Sorry they
Unpublished

are dead. Next?

Just My Opinion
5639
Points
Just My Opinion 01/09/13 - 12:52 pm
12
1
Sorry this had to happen but

Sorry this had to happen but it, in no way, is the LEO's fault. As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing here to debate. The driver made a HUGE mistake, and it cost them dearly.

harley_52
23463
Points
harley_52 01/09/13 - 12:56 pm
13
3
People Are Responsible....

....for their actions. The police were doing their job, the deceased lawbreakers are at fault here.

There IS a lesson to be learned here, but it ISN'T that police should ignore lawbreakers.

CobaltGeorge
159419
Points
CobaltGeorge 01/09/13 - 01:08 pm
4
8
Geez

I just can't believe some of you folks not supporting those 2 honorable Americans Citzens who lost their lives by the overly zealous Richmond County LEO's who chased them just to prove they had a faster car than them. All they wanted was a second chance.

harley_52
23463
Points
harley_52 01/09/13 - 01:21 pm
9
0
CG....

Now you're starting to sound like Riverman. :)

dichotomy
33072
Points
dichotomy 01/09/13 - 01:55 pm
14
5
No questions here. Cops 2 -

No questions here. Cops 2 - Lawbreakers 0 as far as I'm concerned. Keep up the good work.

justthefacts
22020
Points
justthefacts 01/09/13 - 02:07 pm
9
4
I get it

I don't want to come off sounding as though I am being critical of the police. Because I am not. But, just last year, here in Atlanta, the trainer for the Atlanta Braves(Jeff Porter)and his family were traveling to a show. A cruiser broadsided them during a chase, killing Porter's wife. When you read the accounts of this, it is heartbreaking. She died in his arms. I don't know if the perp was caught or what he had done. But, the officer was destroyed and of course an innocent family lost a loved one. Was it worth it? That's the question.

Sweet son
10415
Points
Sweet son 01/09/13 - 02:10 pm
6
1
Are some of you forgetting the police crash that.........

killed the Braves trainer's wife. Some will say it's not the same but Leos as you refer to them HAVE to use great caution when operating a motor vehicle outside the traffic laws.

harley_52
23463
Points
harley_52 01/09/13 - 02:20 pm
10
1
JTF...

I think the REAL question is what are the police to do when they observe someone in the act of breaking the law?

In this particular case, the police saw what looked like an illegal act and they attempted to investigate. The (now deceased) suspects did what ended up being a fatal mistake....they ran from the police, thereby giving the police every reason to believe there MIGHT be an even greater crime involved here. The question now becomes....what should the police do?

Should they let them drive away to sober up, clean up, destroy evidence in the car that may be relevant to a greater crime (eg. murder, rape, burglary), or do they attempt to capture them, or at least follow them to their destination and watch for evidence being thrown out of the car and, perhaps, stop them from killing innocent bystanders via their drunken driving?

It would be nice if there were a helicopter hovering overhead, or another police car in their path to stop the fleeing vehicle. What if there isn't? Do they simply let them go? If they do, what happens when the word gets out that if you flee, the police will let you go?

We're faced here with the common dilemma of choosing between the ideal and the practical. Between the perfect and the good. Making a snap decision that may be right, but painful.

sxf1973
14
Points
sxf1973 01/09/13 - 02:30 pm
10
2
They did it to

They did it to themselves...PERIOD!

justthefacts
22020
Points
justthefacts 01/09/13 - 02:34 pm
7
0
harley

You're right. It's a tough call. I am not being judgemental. I certainly wouldn't want to have to make the decision. No good answer to this discussion.

lovingthesouth72
1368
Points
lovingthesouth72 01/09/13 - 02:44 pm
10
4
backwards reasoning

Uh, the only reason there was a chase was because the kids were running from the cops. If they would have stopped and cooperated they would not be dead. How stupid it is to blame the cops - duh.

Trouble
2506
Points
Trouble 01/09/13 - 02:55 pm
11
1
sxf

They did it to themselves...PERIOD!

No, the driver did it to both of them, period.

and now somewhere out there are parents who are mourning the loss of not one but two sons, my heart goes out to them, but i agree it is not the fault of the officers

Georgialina
7441
Points
Georgialina 01/09/13 - 02:59 pm
8
2
They brought this on themselves

The moral of this story:

Don't run from the Po-Po. You might end up dead!

If they had obeyed the order to stop they would be ALIVE right now. How is that anybody's fault but their own?

my.voice
4824
Points
my.voice 01/09/13 - 03:09 pm
9
1
So we want to call in a

So we want to call in a helicopter when the punks take off? Any idea what that's going to cost? The police are trained to pursue and they know when not to. They have to make split second decisions and don't have time to form a committee to decide how to apprehend a fugitive.

Hats off to this officer and his courage and training. And I bet he feels horrible about it too.

CobaltGeorge
159419
Points
CobaltGeorge 01/09/13 - 03:22 pm
3
2
To Be Honest To You All

I can't choose sides on this issue. I'm torn both ways.

In 1989 my youngest son & wife was side swiped by Alvin Howard who was being chased by RC LEO's in a stolen Cadillac. My son lost his spleen and almost a kidney, the wife is still removing Glass from her head to this date.

More to the story, a few months prior this same individual stole an other Cadillac belonging to the court reporter on our son's murder case which contained all the evidents of the trial.

CobaltGeorge
159419
Points
CobaltGeorge 01/09/13 - 03:27 pm
3
5
I Glad This Ended

the way it did. No regrets from me.

specsta
6505
Points
specsta 01/09/13 - 03:31 pm
7
6
Police Pursuits

I've lived in cities that have strict "no-chase" policies for law enforcement. Too many people get killed when the adrenaline of a chase gets going - the suspects, the cops, and innocent pedestrians are all in harm's way.

The goal in these cities was de-escalation of police pursuits. Better to use stop sticks or roadblocks rather than an outright high-speed chase for the level of offense described, I would think.

Rob Pavey
552
Points
Rob Pavey 01/09/13 - 03:52 pm
11
0
It's a tough call either way because....

What would happen if the officers broke off the chase and let them go - and the guys who escaped ended up killing someone an hour later in the next town. You think the family of the victims there wouldn't blame the officers for failing to apprehend?

soldout
1280
Points
soldout 01/09/13 - 03:57 pm
5
0
fault is always the same

The first who does wrong is always to blame for what comes after. Without a beginning there is no middle and no end.

Little Lamb
46074
Points
Little Lamb 01/09/13 - 04:04 pm
3
2
No Story

Rob Pavey asks an interesting question above. But if the officers do not give chase, no one knows about it because there is no news story on a non-chase. There is not even a police report.

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