One dead after police chase ends at downtown Columbia convention center

Tracy Glantz/tglantz@thestate.com

A man died after a fall from the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center following a police chase that began across the river in Cayce.

At approximately 1:30 a.m. Saturday morning, the man fell from the upper level of the convention center grounds while running from a car accident that occurred during a police pursuit.

The chase began in Lexington County, when Officer Vinton Gillerson with the Cayce Police Department noticed a silver Chevy Sonic with North Carolina plates parked at Guignard Park, which is closed after dark. The car was parked with its lights off and occupied by two individuals.

As Gillerson approached the car, it “accelerated away at a high rate of speed initiating a vehicle pursuit,” according to the police incident report. Shortly after crossing into the city of Columbia, the Chevy hit a curb and collided with a concrete planter outside of the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

The driver fled the vehicle, leaving the passenger behind, according to the incident report. Officers did not pursue the driver, who fled on foot before falling from an upper, exterior level of the convention center.

“Our officer responded in accordance with his training by calling for additional officers and first checking on the other individual from the single car accident. There was no foot chase initiated,” said Cayce Police Chief Chris Cowan.

Cayce Police say that the unnamed suspect had a warrant out in Georgia.

A call to the Richland County Coroner’s Office was not returned Saturday afternoon.

This is a developing news story. Check back here for updates.