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Suspect accused of firing at deputy

JENNA-LEY HARRISON
Staff Writer

A South Carolina man fired several shots at a Lincoln County deputy’s patrol car Thursday night during a high-speed vehicular chase through three counties, according to the Sheriff’s Office said.
Stanley police officers commenced the chase in Gaston County after someone called the department and said two men in a van were firing gun shots in the Stanley area, a secretary with the department told the Times-News on Friday.
Currently, officers are stumped since no reports regarding any shootings have been filed with the agency at this time, the department said.
Officers located the van and pursued the vehicle into Lincoln County where local deputies and city officers teamed up to help stop the suspects, Lincoln County deputies said.
The chase continued down N.C. 27 before the van first crashed into the back of a pickup truck near Sunny Hill Drive on the county’s northeastern end, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The truck traveled down an embankment and overturned, but no one was hurt in the incident, deputies said.
Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Allred Jr., entered the chase near East Main Street and followed the vehicle down U.S. 321 until it took Exit 28 toward Maiden. At that time, Stanley officers, who were still assisting Lincoln County deputies with the pursuit, turned the chase over to Allred, a release from the Sheriff’s Office said.
After Allred edged close to the van in an attempt to see the license plate number, the driver, Dakota Lane Sweat, 18, of 701 Twin Flower Street in Little River, S.C., shot more than once at the deputy’s vehicle, hitting the car and windshield but not injuring the officer, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Lincoln and Catawba County deputies apprehended Sweat and a passenger, Brandon Jeffery Bridges, 18, of 3149 Lyndon Drive in Little River, S.C., once the two suspects jumped from the van after crashing a second time near the intersection of N.C. 10 and U.S. 321 in Catawba County, deputies said.
Deputies said they located the men hiding behind a nearby outbuilding.
Once they apprehended the suspects, deputies seized a shotgun, a .9 mm magazine, spent shotgun shells and a small bag of marijuana from the van, the release said.
Deputies charged Sweat with two felony counts of attempted murder and one felony count each of speeding to elude arrest and discharging a firearm into occupied property. Additional misdemeanor charges filed against him included assault on a government official, driving while impaired, careless and reckless driving, hit-and-run property damage and two counts of aggressive driving.
Bridges and all evidence have since been turned over to Stanley police.
Additional charges may be filed in the case.
Sweat remains in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center under a $196,000 secured bond.

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