(GREENVILLE)- Under the direction of Chief Ken Miller following FOIA requests from multiple media outlets, the Greenville Police Department (GPD) is releasing several documents, recordings, and video footage relevant to fully understanding the July 18, 2018 vehicle crash at Parker at Cone Apartments, located at Parker Cone Way in Greenville, following a brief pursuit by GPD officers.
GPD officers located and began pursuing a 2007 Mercedes-Benz, which was reported stolen earlier in the shift. The crash and subsequent fire was caused by the fleeing vehicle after it crested over a hill on Cedar Lane Road and failed to negotiate a turn in the roadway at approximately 2:45 a.m.
The suspect, Alexander Maurice Hill, 31, of the 400 block of Hagood Street in Greenville, left the roadway at a high rate of speed and struck a bicyclist who was on the sidewalk headed in the same direction. The vehicle traveled down an embankment, made contact with a brick dumpster retaining wall, and began to roll multiple times, uprooting trees and light poles in the apartment complex, before impacting and coming to rest at apartment 1114.
Today’s release includes the 9-1-1 call for the theft of the vehicle, officer radio traffic, complete videos of the pursuit, footage of the initial response to the collision, and video of the bicyclist to the point that there is no added value of additional video coverage, complete video of the collision incident from the apartment complex surveillance camera (which captures the collision with the bicyclist through to impact with the apartment), the printed call for service log, and the redacted incident reports.
This release includes edited video footage to include Body Worn Camera (BWC) footage. Although BWC footage is not a public record subject to disclosure under the FOIA per S.C. Code § 23-1-240(g), Chief Miller has determined that the release of portions of this footage satisfies the interests of transparency in order to maintain public confidence and trust.
Portions of these videos are extremely graphic. Additionally, videos that are redundant or may compromise law enforcement’s ability to fully investigate and prosecute this case are not being distributed in this release. These videos include edits to portions of the footage and audio to protect personal privacy, ensure compliance with FOIA, and to omit explicit content.
At this stage of the investigation by both the South Carolina Highway Patrol and the GPD, it appears that officers acted properly and within Department policy. They clearly were responsible for lifesaving actions in the aftermath of the crash.
The bicyclist suffered a severed left foot. Officers applied a tourniquet to prevent excessive blood loss until EMT personnel arrived on-scene. The injury required an amputation above the knee. The victim remains in an area medical facility. The elderly woman in the apartment suffered a laceration to the forehead and contusions to her body when debris came into her bedroom as the vehicle struck the wall. She was transported to an area medical facility with minor injuries and was released later the day of the crash.
The suspect was located and arrested inside the living room of the victim’s apartment. He suffered a broken wrist, a broken ankle, and a cracked vertebrae. He was transported to an area medical facility, where he remains under 24-hour GPD guard.
Hill is a habitual offender with a long list of offenses to include criminal domestic violence, trespassing, assault and battery high and aggravated, lynching, and multiple misdemeanors. Previously, he has been cited numerous times for traffic violations to include speeding, hit-and-run, and operating an uninsured motor vehicle. Hill was driving with a suspended license, for which he has been charged previously on several occasions.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol has charged the driver with Failure to Stop Resulting in Great Bodily Injury. The GPD has charged Hill with Possession of a Stolen Vehicle.
Summary of Released Videos
Collectively, there are 73-minutes of video footage, which substantially covers the entirety of the major interactions with the victims and suspect.
- Video 1 – Officer Moore (Primary). Moore is the primary officer in the pursuit and is seen directly behind the stolen Mercedes prior to initiating a traffic stop.
- The suspect initially drives along at low speed but does not stop.
- At the intersection of Buncombe and Rutherford St, the Mercedes begins to accelerate rapidly.
- Moore gives chase, but is slowed down as he clears the intersection at Pete Hollis and Stone. The suspect is still accelerating as he pulls away quickly.
- The suspect’s tail lights can be seen rounding the next corner as Moore rounds the first left corner, near Buncombe Rd.
- As Moore exits the next corner, the suspect is out of frame, but his tail lights can be seen briefly at the same place the road begins to curve to the left. The suspect’s headlights suddenly disappear. (This is where the suspect left the road, but the officers are unaware at this point.)
- The officers round the corner near Old Bleachery Road and the suspect is nowhere in sight, they begin to slow and disengage even before being canceled by Sgt. Powell.
- Officer Moore turns around and is on his way to LEC when Pustizzi advises that the suspect wrecked.
- Moore gets out and begins to go to the crash but hears bystanders say that someone is hurt, and he runs to check. At the same time, Sittmann has pulled into the church parking lot and is able to get to the victim while Moore finds himself on the wrong side of the fence. After Moore sees Sittmann is rendering aid, he calls for EMS and then he moves to the building and assists there.
- Moore clears the apartment while Pustizzi and a deputy are dealing with the suspect. Moore then begins to evacuate the first floor of the building. Moore’s BWC is knocked off by the supervisor accidentally, and the camera is pointed down and bounces around a lot until he recognizes it as he goes back up to the road later.
- Moore requests EMS for the suspect around the 13-minute mark.
- Around the 16-minute mark, Moore is told that they have found the victim’s foot, and he advises them to stay with it.
- Moore moves up to the road and begins to speak with a trooper. The video ends after that conversation.
- Video 2 – Officer Pustizzi (Secondary). Pustizzi is the secondary officer in the pursuit, and is seen pulling up behind Moore just before the traffic stop is attempted. Pustizzi’s video shows the same course as Moore’s video, but Pustizzi turns around just past where Moore does, and drives more slowly back and as a result, he is able to see the smoke from the crash, and begins to look around.
- Pustizzi then sees the crash, turns around and calls for Moore to come back.
- Pustizzi moves down to the apartment and gets the occupant of 1114 out and determines that she should be the only person inside.
- Eventually he and some deputies discover the suspect in apartment 1114. The suspect is not responding to commands. The decision is made to move him because the smoke is building inside the apartment. Pustizzi and several deputies carry the suspect out.
- Video 3 – Sittmann (Aid to victim).
- This video begins as Sittmann is gloving up to render aid to the victim with a leg amputation. This video has visual blurring to minimize the gore that is visible, and also has some audio edits to remove medical and personal information from the victim.
- Officers Sittmann and Miller (No video) do an excellent job trying to calm the victim and keep him treated while they wait for EMS. They constantly calm and reassure him while trying to render aid and gather information.
- Video 4 – Officer Hudson responds to the scene.
- He goes and finishes getting the victim/occupant of 1114 away from the building and checking on her.
- He calls for EMS for her and then moves to where the suspect is. He recognizes that the suspect has some substantial injuries and requests EMS, while standing by with the suspect and keeping an eye on him.
- His video ends as he passes watch of the suspect to a deputy and sets off to find EMS for assistance.
- Video 5 - Apartment Complex.
This video is from the apartment complex and shows the collision, a 10-second gap before the first patrol car passes at around the 1:30 mark, until Pustizzi finds the crash and pulls over to investigate.