COLUMBIA, S.C. — If you speed in Kershaw County, you just might get pulled over by the sheriff himself.
Blue lights on and siren blaring, Sheriff Jim Matthews chased down a motorcycle that whizzed past his unmarked car at more than 100 mph (160 kph) on Interstate 20 Monday evening. He followed the biker to a rest area bathroom, then waited outside as other deputies caught up with him.
“He came out to us with his hands behind his back,” the sheriff told The Associated Press. “He knew we had him.”
Like most sheriffs, Matthews’ days are typically filled with the administrative tasks needed to police a county of 63,000 people.
But if he sees a crime, he’s certified to take action.
“I don’t patrol, but if I see you do something stupid like pass on a double yellow line or speed over 15 mph (25 kph) — I give them 15 — I’m going to pull you over,” said Matthews, who estimates he has done about 250 traffic stops in his nearly eight years as Kershaw County’s top cop.
He said the biker blew past him just as he finished issuing a warning to a North Carolina driver. “A lot of the time I issue a warning. But it depends on your attitude,” the sheriff explained.
Matthews hopped into his car and caught up, estimating the biker was going 101 mph (165 kph). He had “one of those motorcycles with the high handlebars, so he couldn’t go 160 mph (255 kph) and ditch me,” he said.
Jody Fogle, 44, was wearing the colors of the Warlocks motorcycle gang and had knives and brass knuckles on him, the sheriff said. He is charged with speeding, a third-offense failure to stop for a blue light and a third-offense of driving under suspension. A resident of Batesburg-Leesville — about 60 miles west of where he was pulled over — Fogle was awaiting a bond hearing and it wasn’t known if he had a lawyer.
The sheriff said when elected in 2010 that he would increase traffic stops, typically handled by Highway Patrol troopers, to make I-20 safer. He said most locals have gotten the message, but others haven’t.
“North Carolina drivers are the worst — they think I-20 is a racetrack,” Matthews said.