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Sheriff expresses condolences

Polk Sheriff Tim Wright issues statement on recent chase and death

COLUMBUS—Polk County Sheriff Tim Wright issued a statement this week following a car chase that ended in a crash that killed 38-year-old Wayne Keith Smith Jr. 

Wright said he expressed condolences to the family of Smith and asked for respectful discourse in public forums. 

Wright made a statement regarding the vehicle pursuit, which occurred on the night of Feb. 2 in Green Creek. The pursuit ended in the Inman area, where Smith ran off the road and struck a tree. 

First and foremost, I would like to express my condolences to the family of Wayne Keith Smith Jr., who lost his life in this vehicle crash,” Wright said this week. “If Mr. Smith’s family has any questions regarding this incident I encourage them to please reach out to my office directly and we will attempt to answer any questions that we can. For complete transparency and accountability the vehicle crash continues to be investigated by the S.C. Highway Patrol Traffic Crash Reconstruction Team and our office continues to review the matter internally to ensure that all laws, policies, and procedures were followed.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office published the original press release regarding this incident in an attempt to continue to be as transparent as possible in all matters. I understand that emotions are running high in our country and even in our region right now, but I am ashamed of some of the hateful bickering and thoughtless comments that have been posted on our social media sites recently from all viewpoints. I have always defended the right of free speech, especially speech that I may not agree with, and will continue to do so, but as a fellow citizen and a lifelong public servant I ask that when making comments in public forum, please remain civil and consider the effects your words may have on others. Hate, anger, resentment, quick judgments, and division are all paths that we choose to follow. We are better than that and we have to be better than that if we want to grow as a community and as a society.”