The family of Wayne Smith Jr. is demanding answers. The 38-year-old died on February 2 after a Spartanburg County car chase resulted in a crash.
According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, a deputy was pursuing Smith Jr. into South Carolina’s Spartanburg County when his vehicle struck a tree and he died.
Following what they say are conflicting stories about the incident, Smith Jr.’s relatives are asking the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation to look into the crash.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said the incident happened just after 9 p.m. when a deputy tried to stop Smith Jr.
The deputy said he saw the driver going at 77 miles per hour in Green Creek – a 45 mile per hour zone.
A sheriff’s office spokesman said the deputy chased Smith Jr. for about two miles until he crossed into South Carolina.
The deputy reported the matter to the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office and South Carolina State Highway Patrol, but officers reportedly didn’t arrive until Smith Jr. crashed.
Wayne Smith Sr. said he received conflicting information about whether or not his son was being chased, how fast he was going, and how many deputies were involved in the Spartanburg County car chase.
Community activist and family advocate John Barnett said the family was told that there was no body camera footage of the incident and they planned to request an SBI investigation.
However, an SBI spokesperson said the bureau wouldn’t have jurisdiction to investigate since they usually need to be called in by a local sheriff, chief, or district attorney.
Meanwhile, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said the South Carolina Highway Patrol was handling the investigation including the accident reconstruction.
The Smith family plans to hire an attorney. If you lost a loved one in a crash, a South Carolina car accident lawyer can also advise you.