Charges brought against passenger in fatal shoplifting crash

  • Posted: Monday, December 30, 2013 6:00 p.m.
    UPDATED: Monday, December 30, 2013 6:34 p.m.

The passenger in a fatal Christmas Eve collision that resulted from a chase following a shoplifting incident is facing charges of shoplifting and assault and battery, according to the Aiken Department of Public Safety.

Officers have obtained arrest warrants for third-degree assault and battery and shoplifting, third offense, for Tiffany Grimes. A spokesman for Aiken Public Safety said on Monday that those warrants have not been served. Grimes’ medical status is unknown.

Grimes was a passenger in a silver Pontiac sedan that led officers on a chase from Walmart on Whiskey Road until the sedan collided with two other vehicles in front of Kennedy Middle School on East Pine Log Road on Christmas Eve, police said. The driver, 31-year-old Lucinda Randolph of Aldrich Street, died that afternoon from injuries suffered in the collision.

Randolph and Grimes reportedly tried to take about $400 in items from the store, including a Power Wheels toy, several hygiene products and a wireless tablet. Loss prevention officers tried to stop them as they fled, and even followed them outside to determine their direction of travel.

One of the loss prevention officers told police Randolph sprayed him with what appeared to be pepper spray, and the two women got into the silver Pontiac. As the suspects were leaving the scene, Police said Grimes grabbed the loss prevention officer from inside the vehicle and wouldn’t let go as they were driving off. The employee was able to break free of her grasp but said as he tried to move away, the driver attempted to strike him with the vehicle, police said. He suffered minor injuries.

The employee’s cellphone was lost inside the vehicle during the struggle, but officers found it at the crash site and returned it, the report stated.

The silver Pontiac failed to stop for blue lights and siren and traveled at a “high” rate of speed through the Walmart parking lot, continuing to travel at high speeds down Whiskey Road, according to the report. The vehicle maneuvered through traffic and a parking lot near McDonald’s, then continued down East Pine Log Road.

Officers were ordered to terminate the attempt to stop the vehicle; however, the car then sideswiped another vehicle on East Pine Log Road before striking yet another vehicle head-on, police said. Randolph and Grimes, as well as the drivers of the other two vehicles, were transported to a hospital by EMS.

The crash is being investigated by the S.C. Highway Patrol.

Teddy Kulmala covers the crime and courts beat for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since August 2012.

He is a native of Williston and majored in communication studies at Clemson University.

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