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Sentence of 8 years for assault on SCHP trooper during I-20 traffic stop

Chance Noah Etheredge, age 38, has pled guilty to Assaulting a Law Enforcement Officer while Resisting Arrest in Lexington County. He was sentenced to eight (8) years incarceration to be followed by five years probation. The plea took place Tuesday morning and the sentence was imposed by Judge William P. Keesley.

Eleventh Circuit Solicitor Rick Hubbard commended the actions of the officer, S.C. Highway Patrol (SCHP) Lance Corporal Jason G. Snider.  Solicitor Hubbard stated, “One of the most dangerous and frightening things a law enforcement officer has to do is make a traffic stop and Trooper Snider conducted himself very professionally. We want all of law enforcement to know that we understand how difficult and dangerous of a job they have and we appreciate them.”

On February 14, 2015, at approximately 8:30 pm, Etheredge was driving a Volkswagen SUV on I-20 Eastbound near the I-26 interchange. SCHP Lance Corporal Jason G. Snider pulled the vehicle over for suspicion of DUI. Etheredge was the only occupant of his vehicle. Trooper Snider administered a series of field sobriety tests on Etheredge and subsequently began the process of placing him under arrest for DUI. Etheredge began to physically resist the officer. Etheredge returned to his vehicle and failed to follow commands. Etheredge attempted to flee the scene in his vehicle, at which time a struggle ensued and Trooper Snider was able to remove the keys from the ignition switch. During the struggle, Etheredge stated, “Not tonight,” and grabbed a .38 caliber handgun from his vehicle and exited the vehicle. Trooper Snider then drew his service weapon and fired at Etheredge, striking him. The trooper then administered aid until first responders arrived. Etheredge was treated at an area hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

The officer-involved shooting was independently investigated by the S.C. Law Enforcement Division (SLED). The SLED investigation determined that the shooting was lawful and justified based on the facts and circumstances of the event.

SLED Agent Shawn Grant informed Judge Keesley that Etheredge’s  statement of “not tonight” reminded him of a different officer-related shooting where a subject made similar statements before fatally shooting a law enforcement officer.  SCHP Lt. Chris Shelton, speaking on behalf of state troopers, told the judge that he could just as easily have been giving a eulogy for Trooper Snider.

This case was prosecuted by Eleventh Circuit Assistant Solicitor Todd Wagoner.  Wagoner stated, “This case should have been simple.  What started as a DUI arrest needlessly escalated into a situation that has had a profound effect on both Mr. Etheredge and Trooper Snider.  The officer conducted himself with the utmost professionalism.  I thank Trooper Snider on behalf of the citizens of Lexington County for stopping Mr. Etheredge from driving away that evening.  By doing so, this officer likely prevented a greater tragedy on our interstate.”