Suspect in 2011 carjacking spree pleads guilty - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Suspect in 2011 carjacking spree pleads guilty

Pick-up truck Spry reportedly carjacked in river (Source: WMBF News Photog Michael Walters) Pick-up truck Spry reportedly carjacked in river (Source: WMBF News Photog Michael Walters)
Gregory Allen Spry (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center) Gregory Allen Spry (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)
Authorities, with the help of bystanders, pull Spry out of the river (Source: WMBF News Photog Michael Walters) Authorities, with the help of bystanders, pull Spry out of the river (Source: WMBF News Photog Michael Walters)

WAMPEE, SC (WMBF) - The North Carolina man charged in a series of carjackings in the Wampee section of Horry County last year has pleaded guilty in court.

According to Horry County Court public records, 45-year-old Gregory Allen Spry of Laurinburg, NC pleaded guilty to assault and battery and strong armed robbery on July 18. Spry was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay court costs.

He reported to J. Reuben Long Detention Center to begin that sentence on Monday. 

Sergeant Robert Kegler, spokesman for Horry County Police, say Gregory Spry, robbed at least two people of their vehicles at gunpoint late in the afternoon on June 22, 2011. They say he also crashed into several other cars along Highway 90.

Crystal Thompson was driving one of those cars. She says Spry rammed her head on and pulled out a gun, all while her 12-year-old was in the backseat.

"I remember thinking my son's gonna see me get shot, like I remember that going through my head and thinking, just being terrified," said Thompson.

Police said the last vehicle he stole was the pick-up truck, which he drove down Star Bluff Road and into the river around 5:45 p.m.

"He was wide open just as hard as he could drive it," said A.D. Watts who lives right beside the river at the end of Star Bluff Road.

He said he was sitting on a nearby dock when he heard the truck coming before he even saw it.

"He come off the pavement and hit the dirt, and he was just wide open, hit those rocks and he flew like a rocket across the river."

Travis Barnhill lives at the end of Star Bluff Road too. He was amazed to see what happened.

"It was impressive to see how far the vehicle actually launched," Barnhill said.

"My late uncle actually built the berm that's right there by the river to protect it from erosion, and that berm that he made acted like a ramp I suppose."

By the time police responded and found Spry he was lying on the bank on the other side of the river.

Watts had recognized the truck because he knows the owner. So he swam over to help.

"When I pulled the guy out of the truck I realized he had to have stolen the truck," Watts explained. "He was over there screaming 'Help me please. Don't let me die.' He was hurt pretty bad."

Police and medics used Watts' canoe to get to Spry. It was an ordeal Watts and Barnhill said caused a commotion in the neighborhood, but they were just glad no one was in the path of the truck.

"Kids play out here. I work out here. All my family is out here," Barnhill said. "Anything could have happened with that truck."

Spry was then taken to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center for treatment of his injuries, where Sgt. Kegler said June 23 he was listed in critical condition.

After he was released from the hospital and taken to jail, a judge denied him bond on 14 charges connected to the crime spree police say he committed.

Kegler said warrants were issued on the following charges:

  • Six counts of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature
  • Six counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime
  • Two counts of carjacking
Spry pleaded guilty to one charge of assault and battery and one charge of strong armed robbery. Public records show some of those charges were dismissed, but several other charges are still pending.

Copyright 2012 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly