Man dies in crash after Oconee Co. chase - FOX Carolina 21

Man dies in crash after Oconee Co. chase

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Troopers said a man is dead after leading an officer on a chase in Oconee County and then crashing his pickup truck.

Officials said a Walhalla police officer tried to pull the man over Monday afternoon for a traffic violation.

Investigators said he refused to stop. Officials said when the officer starting chasing him, he slammed on his brakes so that the officer would crash.

Troopers said the man took off again with the officer following behind. Interim Walhalla Police Chief Ronald Wilbanks said the officer called off the chase once it was outside of the city limits though he continued to follow the driver because he tried to cause him to wreck, staying back just enough to keep him in sight.

Investigators said the man crashed minutes later on Oconee Station Road after losing control of his vehicle. Officials said he struck an embankment and overturned. Coroner Karl Addis identified the driver as 68-year-old Cleve Phillips of Walhalla and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

"We do have his family in our thoughts and prayers," said Wilbanks. "It was an unfortunate outcome. We didn't want it to end this way."

The officer has been with the Walhalla Police Department for a little more than a year, Wilbanks said. He said the officer is on desk duty to get his paper work together but will be back out after that. He also told FOX Carolina the officer did everything right.

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