A routine traffic stop turned into a fatal crash late Wednesday after a Beaufort woman fled from Port Royal and Beaufort police.
Courtney Lynn Green, 34, was pulled over at about 11 p.m. by a Port Royal officer after she made an illegal right turn from West Parris Avenue onto Ribaut Road, Port Royal Police Chief Alan Beach said Thursday.
Green initially stopped the gray Chevrolet Malibu she was driving but suddenly sped away as the officer approached. The officer recognized Green and believed she was driving with a suspended license, Beach said.
After Green left Port Royal's town limits and entered Beaufort's, a Beaufort police officer spotted the Malibu in a driveway on Acres Road, Beaufort Police Chief Matt Clancy said Thursday.
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When the officer shined a light on the car, which had its lights off and appeared empty, Green suddenly popped up from a ducking position, drove through a residence's front yard and sped off through the neighborhood's winding streets, Clancy said.
Moments later, Green drove the Malibu through a wood-and-metal fence and smashed the car into a massive oak tree in a resident's yard on Riverfront Place, a dead-end street.
Green was transported to Beaufort Memorial Hospital and pronounced dead shortly after midnight. The Medical University of South Carolina will do an autopsy, according to Beaufort County Deputy Coroner David Ott.
By 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Beaufort police matched the Malibu to a report Green's mother filed Sunday, saying her daughter had stolen the car and a debit card, according to Clancy. Attempts Thursday to contact Green's family were unsuccessful.
Police reported finding an open container of alcohol and drug paraphernalia in the car.
The S.C. Highway Patrol is leading an investigation on the crash. Green was not wearing a seat belt, Ott said.