SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) The Surfside Beach Police officer involved in a chase and shooting with a suspect that was later hospitalized in February has been cleared to return to work.
Mike Frederick, Chief of Police for Surfside Beach, said in a press release Friday that the officer has been cleared after an internal review by the Surfside BEach Police Department and an external review by SLED.
The officer had been on administrative leave pending investigation.
The man police say is responsible for a Surfside Beach chase and officer involved gun fire was taken to a hospital under the watch of an armed guard.
According to Surfside Police Chief Mike Frederick 32-year-old Christopher Glenn Clark was transported to an area hospital after he became ill while in police custody.
Frederick says that after being placed in his cell, Clark became sick and was transported by EMS to a medical facility. Clark is still in law enforcement custody and is under armed guard by SBPD.
Following the chase through a Surfside Beach neighborhood, residents say they are thankful for the force that was used during the chase early Tuesday morning, even if it did call for an officer to open fire.
Chief Frederick said an officer of the Surfside Beach Police Department initiated a pursuit just before 2 a.m. on the morning of Feb. 28 after he observed Clark's vehicle weaving wildly in the roadway.
Chief Frederick said Clark, who is from Myrtle Beach, initially stopped, but sped away as the officer approached the vehicle. Other SBPD units chased Clark for several minutes, until it came to rest in the front yard of an unoccupied Surfside Beach residence, Frederick said.
As a second officer approached the Clark's vehicle, its tires began spinning wildly and the vehicle swung toward the officer. The officer fired his handgun into the vehicle in an effort to stop the vehicle from striking him, Frederick said.
Clark was not struck and continued to run. A third officer was able to stop Clark's vehicle, Frederick said. Officers say Clark ran from that scene and was caught by officers after a brief foot chase.
"There were lots of police cars, lots of policemen. We couldn't tell too much about the damage done," said Beth Wester, who lives across the street from where the chase ended.
When police pushed the car to a stop, it took out a small tree and scraped the bumper of a car in a yard near the intersection.
"We're obviously very happy that our officer wasn't injured," Frederick added. "Our preliminary review is underway, but we will not release our findings prior to the completion of the outside review."
Chief Frederick says his department has requested an external investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division of SLED. The Myrtle Beach Police Department assisted SBPD by photographing and processing the pursuit and arrest scenes.
Neighbors in the area near Surfside Drive and Hollywood Drive say they support the officer's decision to chase and use force.
"He was trying to run from the police. What if he ran into someone's home trying to hide from them? Hands down I think it was handled just like it should have been," said Ginny Callum.
Callum said many people walk through the neighborhood at all hours of the night, but she thinks letting a drunk driver go is a bigger safety risk.
Clark is charged with Driving Under the Influence, driving under suspension, failure to stop for blue lights/siren, and resisting arrest. Clark was also a fugitive on multiple failure to appear charges on possession with the intent to distribute narcotics charges from West Virginia.