Troopers: Two charged in deputy-involved crash that claimed life - FOX Carolina 21

Troopers: Two charged in deputy-involved crash that claimed life of Greenville Tech student

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Ronnie Pittman (left) and Christopher Gist (right) (Source: Anderson County Detention Center) Ronnie Pittman (left) and Christopher Gist (right) (Source: Anderson County Detention Center)
Scene of the crash (July 24, 2017/ FOX Carolina) Scene of the crash (July 24, 2017/ FOX Carolina)
Josh Martin (Source: Family friend) Josh Martin (Source: Family friend)
ANDERSON, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Troopers said two men have been charged in connection with a deputy-involved chase and crash in Anderson County that claimed the life of an Upstate college student.

The Anderson County Sheriff's Office said a deputy was chasing a vehicle that had been reported stolen when the crash occurred Sunday night. One person was killed as a result of that incident.

According to officials with the Anderson County Sheriff's Office, deputies received a call about a stolen vehicle at the 711 store on Hwy 8 and Hwy 81. Deputies arrived, spotted the vehicle and then a pursuit ensued.

That chase ended when the deputy crashed into another vehicle, which was not connected to the chase, just before 9 p.m. on Moore Road at SC 8, about 4.7 miles south of Easley.

Troopers said the victim was traveling north on SC 88 in a 2008 Honda Civic as the deputy was traveling west on SC 8, when the deputy's vehicle hit the victim's vehicle on the passenger side.

The deputy involved in the crash was taken to the ER to be treated for non-life threatening injuries. He did not become entrapped or ejected from the vehicle during the incident, and was traveling alone.

The driver of the Civic became trapped in the vehicle, and ultimately died on the scene.

Deputies said they were unable to apprehend the stolen vehicle that caused the initial pursuit.

Coroner Greg Shore identified the victim as 22-year-old Josh Caleb Martin. He said Martin was a Greenville Tech student.

Shore said a pastor came to the crash scene Sunday night and said he had just met with Martin earlier in the evening.

Shore said the SC Highway Patrol MAIT team is continuing to reconstruct the crash and the cause and manner of death will be determined following that crash.

Martin was in the Mechatronics program at Greenville Tech, which is an advanced manufacturing field, according to a spokesperson for the college. Martin had a year to go to complete his degree.

Anderson County sheriff Chad McBride issued the following statement on the deadly crash:

I am heartbroken by the accident that occurred yesterday evening on Highway 81 in the Wren community. My heart sincerely goes out to the families affected by this incident. In our role as law enforcement officers, our focus is to protect the lives and property of our citizens. As we proactively work to protect our citizens, we have placed more officers on the road and are engaging the criminal element more than ever before. In the constant pursuit to maintain law and order in our county, the last thing we would ever want is to be involved in an accident where anyone is injured or there is loss of life.  In this case, the life of an innocent bystander was lost because a criminal failed to surrender after deputies attempted to initiate a traffic stop. I am fully committed to working with the SC Highway Patrol in identifying the perpetrator and bringing him to justice to face the full consequences of his actions. My heart goes out to the families who have been impacted by this tragedy, especially that of Mr. Martin, and I pray that God will bring comfort and peace during this unexpected loss. I also ask that the public keep our Deputy in their prayers as he recovers from the injuries he sustained. We will continue to honor our commitment to serve and protect Anderson County residents and make it a safer place to live and work.

In an effort to maintain our agency’s culture of transparency, while respecting both the SCHP’s investigation and the grieving process of the Bowen and Martin families, our agency will release additional details of the investigation as findings become available.

Greenville Technical College President Dr. Keith Miller released this statement on behalf of the college on Monday:

"The faculty, staff, and students at Greenville Technical College are profoundly saddened by the loss of a promising young man. We wish to extend our deepest sympathy to Joshua Martin’s family and friends during this difficult time." 

On Friday, troopers announced that two arrests had been made in connection with the fatal crash. Ronnie Cody Pittman, 20, of Piedmont was charged with failure to stop for blue lights involving death, driving under suspension, malicious injury to private property, receiving stolen goods and possession of a stolen vehicle. Christopher Marion Gist, 20, of Easley, was charged with grand larceny and accessory after the fact of a felony.

Both are being held in the Anderson County Detention Center at this time.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to benefit Martin's family. Click here to view the page.

FOX Carolina is working to get additional details.

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