Driver Killed In Police Chase

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February 16, 2006
It’s a story you’ll see only on 12, a driver is dead after a jewelry thief hits him while running from police. The suspected jewel thief is in jail Thursday night, thanks to two citizens who helped authorities capture him.

The story starts off Highway 25 in North Augusta. Just before 11 a.m. officers say 21-year-old James Cobbert tries on rings at Stan Johnson Jewelry.

“The suspect placed two on his small finger, suddenly this individual pushes off from the counter and runs out the front door followed by the store owner,” said Michael Frank, Aiken County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office tells what happened next like this. Cobbert then jumps in a stolen Ford Focus. Someone notices the incident, follows the car onto Interstate 20 and calls the license plate number into officers. That begins a chase from I-20 to Highway 178 to Highway 302 in Pelion. Speeding, Cobbert passes a DOT worker driving in front of him. That’s when he loses control and runs off the road.

“He came back into the roadway and hit the rear of the DOT Blazer, causing it to overturn over the left side of the roadway,” said Bryan McDougald, SC Highway Patrol.

The DOT worker, though wearing his seatbelt, was thrown from the SUV and killed. The Highway Patrol arrests Cobbert, but the story doesn’t end there. While getting medical treatment he runs again.

“My first reaction was wanting to go help,” said Joshua Marchant.

Joshua Marchant, who works nearby, stops him.

“The guy jumped up and he run to this area right here. I pushed him and as soon as I pushed him back they jumped on top of him and had him arrested again,” Marchant said.

James Cobbert is charged with strong-armed robbery by the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office. Charges from the Highway Patrol are still pending.