30 Years for Attempted Murder of Deputy

A repeat offender who shot at an Abbeville County deputy during a traffic stop will spend the next 30 years in prison after pleading guilty yesterday afternoon to charges related to the incident, according to 8th Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo.

31-year-old Mark Allen Simmons pled guilty as charged to attempted murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime during the plea proceeding in Abbeville yesterday. Circuit Judge R. Scott Sprouse then sentenced Simmons to 30 years in prison, the maximum allowable sentence for attempted murder under state law.

In December 2017, Abbeville County Deputy Tim Wright attempted to perform a traffic stop on a vehicle being driven erratically by Simmons along Highway 28. Simmons pulled to the side of the road, leaned out of his car and fired a long rifle that hit the deputy’s patrol car, then sped away. Another shot was fired from the moving vehicle as a female passenger took the wheel. Items were thrown from the speeding vehicle during the high-speed chase and at one point, Wright’s vehicle almost collided with a school bus full of elementary students.

Abbeville County Sheriff Ray Watson had high praise for his deputies, particularly Deputy Wright, who was recently decorated for his actions at the S.C. Sheriff’s Association. Sheriff Watson said he can’t say enough about his deputies, especially Tim Wright, who “do whatever is necessary to keep our community safe, often putting their lives on the line,” Solicitor Stumbo echoed that sentiment and reaffirmed his longstanding support of law enforcement.