Crime

1 dead, 1 hurt after Lancaster County SC crash, troopers say

The driver who was killed and a passenger from Rock Hill who was injured Thursday in a Lancaster County collision were suspects in three Charlotte-area armed robberies after stealing a car, police said.

The two men were out on bond from previous arrests at the time of the crash, records show.

The driver, Rontavious Clark, 25, of Kershaw in Lancaster County, died in the crash with a tractor-truck around 4:35 a.m. at the intersection of S.C. 522 and S.C. 903, troopers said. The SUV was heading south on S.C. 903 when it went through a stop sign and hit a Freightliner tractor-truck, said Lance Cpl. Gary Miller of the highway patrol.

Clark was not wearing a seat belt, and was trapped and died at the scene, Miller said.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officers are seeking arrest warrants against the passenger, identified as Danneil Hughes, 23, of Rock Hill. Hughes was the front passenger in the 2004 Lexus SUV. The SUV was stolen around 3 a.m. from a man on 8th Street in Charlotte, Charlotte police said.

Hughes also was not wearing a seat belt, and was airlifted to a Columbia hospital with injuries, Miller said.

The driver of the truck, 53, from Union County, N.C., was not injured, Miller said.

Charlotte detectives said in a statement that Clark and Hughes are suspects in armed robberies of convenience stores on Monroe Road around 3:30 a.m. and 4 a.m., and an armed robbery at a store in Matthews, police said. The two fled in the SUV into South Carolina after the robberies until the crash about a half an hour later, police said.

Hughes had been released from jail in Charlotte just hours before the crime spree Wednesday on a $2,500 unsecured bond, jail records show.

Hughes was charged Tuesday with uttering a forged instrument concerning a forged financial document, jail records show.

Clark was charged by Charlotte police Oct. 15 with breaking into a car, damaging an electronic monitor and other charges. He had at least 21 previous arrests in Charlotte since 2016, Mecklenburg County jail records show.

Clark also had three pending felony cases in Lancaster County for assault and battery, and having contraband in jail, records show.

Hughes has pending charges in Charlotte from August 2017 for breaking and entering, and trespassing, records show.

Hughes has no criminal record in South Carolina, State Law Enforcement Division records show.

Charlotte police said Hughes’ first name is spelled in previous Charlotte police and jail records as Danneil, and spelled Danniel on his driver’s license. South Carolina highway patrol troopers also spelled Hughes name as Danneil.

Related stories from Charlotte Observer

Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065, @AndrewDysHerald

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