Driver accused of running over man with SUV in Bluffton disturbance

rlurye@islandpacket.comFebruary 21, 2014 

A 29-year-old man was charged with attempted murder Friday in connection with a disturbance Thursday afternoon in Old Town Bluffton, in which a man was struck by a sport utility vehicle.

Quaddray Dramel Gaston of Bluffton was driving a Chevrolet Tahoe and ran over a man outside a home in the 1200 block of May River Road at about 3:30 p.m., according to a Bluffton Police Department news release. The SUV also struck the home.

Gaston, who was detained by officers near the scene, said he and his brother went to the home to fight several people, although he would not tell investigators why, Capt. Joseph Manning said.

The man who was hit by the Tahoe remains at Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah with non-life-threatening injuries, the release said.

After the disturbance, in which shots were fired and about 20 people were gathered outside the home, police cordoned off the area to search for an armed black man who ran from the scene.

Police have identified that man, Manning said, but he declined to release more information, citing the ongoing investigation.

Bluffton officers, along with Beaufort County Sheriff's Office deputies and S.C. Highway Patrol troopers, stayed on the scene through Thursday evening awaiting warrants to search the Tahoe and the home it struck.

On Friday, police were still trying to determine if shots were fired into the Tahoe or from it, but Manning said investigators had enough evidence to charge Gaston with attempted murder.

"The driver had ample opportunity to leave the scene," Manning said. "However, he chose to remain and instigate the situation."

In 2010, Gaston was charged with two counts of trafficking between 10 and 28 grams of cocaine, according to court records. Prosecutors did not pursue the case after they could not tie the drugs, found in someone else's yard, to Gaston, according to Daniel Brownstein, spokesman for the 14th Circuit Solicitor's Office.

Gaston was being held Friday at the Beaufort County Detention Center pending a bond hearing.

Officers continued to interview witnesses Friday, and more charges could follow, Manning said.

Follow reporter Rebecca Lurye on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Rebecca.

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