Ok, how high was this man?
CHEROKEE COUNTY, S.C. — Deputies say a man stole a front-end loader, ran over a patrol car and rammed two others before running down and killing a 67-year-old man.
Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies and the Highway Patrol began chasing the stolen 10-ton front-end loader at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning.
Investigators say the front-end loader was stolen from the Cherokee County Speedway.
“The officers tried to stop the individual,” said Cherokee County Sheriff Bill Blanton. “He wouldn’t stop. He ran over one of our patrol cars.”
Blanton said the man who stole the front-end loader was later identified as 28-year-old Aaron Christopher Saunders.
Blanton said that Saunders rammed two sheriff’s patrol cars and then tried running down a deputy that was on foot.
For more than two miles, police tried to get Saunders to stop by shooting the vehicle’s tires. But he kept going, the front-end loader tearing down trees and signs along the way way.
“There’s nothing that we own that would stop something that big without stopping the driver,” Blanton said.
Saunders then rolled into the yard of 973 Pleasant School Road.
James Ellie Brogden, 67, was there, house-sitting for his son-in-law.
Saunders tried to destroy Brogden’s car. When Brogden went outside to see what the commotion was, Saunders ran him over, deputies said.
“He intentionally ran over this elderly gentleman,” Blanton said. “It wasn’t an accident. He made a beeline for him.”
Deputies fired on Saunders multiple times. He was airlifted to Spartanburg Regional Hospital, where he died.
“We don’t know what his motive was or what his thinking was, but to do that kind of damage and take an innocent person’s life is just senseless and stupid,” Blanton said.
Brogden, who went by Cecil, was a major in the Salvation Army. He worked at a rehabilitation center in Charlotte that helps troubled men.
“This is exactly the kind of man that Cecil Brogden loved and cared for,” said Lt. Col. Dick Norris. “The family is really taking this very difficult. And right now it’s one of the most difficult days I’ve ever had. We love Cecil very much.”
The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office and State Law Enforcement Division investigators said that they still haven’t figured out what drove Saunders to go on a rampage. Meanwhile, Brogden’s family members said they hope that the circumstances of his death don’t overshadow the years of service that defined his life.
Autopsies will be performed on both Saunders and Brogden.