ABBEVILLE Co., S.C. (WSPA) — A man who opened fire on a local deputy following a traffic stop received a 30-year prison sentence.
The Eighth Circuit Solicitor’s Office said Mark Allen Simmons, 31, received the maximum sentence after pleading guilty Wednesday to attempted murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.
Simmons was stopped by an Abbeville County deputy for erratic driving on Highway 28 in December 2017.
During the traffic stop, prosecutors say Simmons leaned out a window and shot at the deputy before fleeing the scene.
Simmons fired at the deputy again during the chase while a female passenger, Crystal Weaghington, took control of the wheel, prosecutors say.
The suspects allegedly threw a rifle and shotgun out of the sunroof during the chase and nearly ran a school bus off the road.
Prosecutors say the bus was filled with children. None of the children were hurt.
Simmons sped through an intersection before deputies stopped him with a “pit” maneuver and struggled to take him into custody.
Prosecutors say Simmons told deputies he was mentally ill and had used drugs including meth and flakka.
“I am very glad that we were able to get this case resolved and get a dangerous individual off the streets for a long time,” Abbeville County Sheriff Ray Watson is quoted in the release. “I hope that (Simmons) can get the help he needs while he is incarcerated so that he can be a better person in the future.”
Simmons shot at Abbeville County Deputy Tim Wright. He was recently recognized by the S.C. Sheriffs’ Association.
Weaghington awaits sentencing for accessory after the fact to a felony. She pleaded guilty to the charge last month.