Laurens, S.C.; August 29, 2016 – Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Monday morning that an Alabama man was sentenced nine years in prison in connection with an incident in which he rammed two vehicles on an I-26 exit on-ramp.Robert Clinton Harbuck, 28, of Anniston, Alabama, was found guilty Friday by a Laurens County jury on charges of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, resisting arrest, failure to stop for blue lights, and three counts of third degree assault and battery.
Circuit Judge Donald Hocker sentenced to Harbuck to nine years in prison the assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature charge, one year in prison on the resisting arrest charge, three years in prison on the failure to stop for blue lights charge, and 30 days in jail on reach of the third degree assault and battery charges.
Judge Hocker ordered the sentences to run concurrently. The charge of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature is considered a serious, violent offense under South Carolina law, meaning Harbuck must serve a minimum of 85 percent of the sentence before becoming eligible for release.
On September 6, 2015, the South Carolina Highway Patrol received information that Harbuck was driving recklessly on I-26 eastbound, heading toward Columbia from Greenville. Witnesses testified to observing Harbuck driving at speeds of over 100 mph, passing along the shoulder and passing vehicles by driving between two vehicles occupying the traffic lanes.
Witnesses reported the reckless driver to SCHP and continued following the vehicle and observed Harbuck abruptly take the Chapin exit before getting back on I-26 in the westbound direction. A trooper got behind Harbuck’s truck around mile marker 60 and activated his blue lights. Harbuck did not stop and exited the interstate at exit 52 in Clinton.
Three witnesses were in a vehicle in front of Harbuck and, upon seeing law enforcement in pursuit, pulled over on the shoulder of the exit’s on-ramp. Harbuck stopped momentarily then abruptly rammed the vehicle in front of him and began reversing up the on-ramp toward the trooper’s vehicle. The trooper also began reversing until oncoming traffic prevented him from doing so. Harbuck then rammed the trooper’s vehicle, causing injuries to the trooper’s back.
Harbuck drove forward and was preparing to again ram the vehicle occupied by the witnesses when the trooper positioned his vehicle between the two and ordered Harbuck out of the truck. Other officers arrived to assist as Harbuck actively resisted arrest.
Deputy Solicitor Dale Scott and Assistant Solicitor Jim Todd handled the case for the state. Harbuck was represented by Tom Quinn of the Greenville County bar.
Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of prosecutors as well as the selfless actions taken Cpl. Steven Lindler of SCHP for preventing any greater injuries and securing a conviction.
“It is very fortunate that no one was killed or injured more seriously as the result of Harbuck’s reckless actions,” Solicitor Stumbo said. “Three witnesses did the right thing by reporting Harbuck’s actions to law enforcement and Cpl. Lindler exemplified the law enforcement motto ‘To Protect and Serve.’ We are very fortunate to have law enforcement officers the caliber of Cpl. Lindler in the Eighth Judicial Circuit.”