Cop Ends Pursuit with Head On Collision

Rock Hill, SC - A state trooper ran his patrol car into a pickup to end a car chase he feared would get out of hand after the driver -- allegedly drunk and a wanted fugitive -- ran through traffic lights and stop signs in Rock Hill on Sunday. The crash totaled both cars and required the trooper and the suspect to receive medical treatment, police said Monday. Deputies were sent to the intersection of Mount Gallant and India Hook roads after they were called about an accident involving the Highway Patrol, according to a York County Sheriff's report. At about 2:30 a.m. Sunday, Highway Patrol Cpl. Brian Benfield, 40, told York County sheriff's deputies that another trooper had tried to pull over a 2003 Dodge pickup, but the driver began driving aggressively to get away. Travis Gary Knight, 44, drove the pickup into several nearby neighborhoods and sped down Twin Lakes Road, the report states. The trooper radioed that the truck was turning onto India Hook Road and headed toward Celanese Road. Cpl. Benfield pulled into the intersection at Mount Gallant and India Hook with his lights and sirens on to get between the truck and any other traffic. As Knight drove toward the intersection, he did not try to stop, the report states, and crossed over into the opposite travel lane. Benfield told deputies he was afraid someone would be hurt or killed if the chase continued, so he intentionally turned into the Dodge truck with his patrol car. After the crash, Knight tried to run away, but he was caught and taken into custody. The pickup suffered damage primarily on the passenger's side. The airbag in Benfield's patrol car deployed, deputies reported, and he was taken to Riverview Medical Center to receive treatment for minor injuries. Knight was taken to Piedmont Medical Center, where he was treated for a broken hand. Knight, of Jacksonville, Fla., told deputies a woman gave him permission to drive the pickup. The woman told deputies she did give Knight consent to drive the truck, but she had not seen him in more than a week and thought his name was "Gary Losco." Knight was being held Monday night at the York County Detention Center on a $16,942 bond. He was charged with failure to stop for a blue light, driving under the influence, driving without a license, failure to obey a traffic-control device and having an open container in a vehicle. He also was charged as a fugitive from justice, but it was unclear Monday where he was wanted.