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Mayor's Wife Charged after Disturbance with Shot Fired

web posted January 1, 2013

MERRIWETHER – Edgefield County Sheriff's Deputies reported two incidents involving Edgefield Mayor Ken Durham's wife, Debra, Sunday evening about an hour apart. The first involving speeding and a trespass notice given and the second after she is said to have fired a shot from a handgun in the yard of a Republican Road man's home after breaking a window. She then fled the scene and crashed her white Honda SUV a short distance away.

According to an incident report, Debra Durham, 52, was spotted by an Edgefield County Sheriff's Deputy driving at a high rate of speed southbound on Sweetwater Road near Mays Way. The deputy activated his blue lights and Durham refused to stop until arriving at the Republican Road home. After stating the reason for the traffic stop by the deputy, he reported Durham was "very upset" and was given a warning ticket for speeding.

The deputy made contact with the owner of the home who stated he knew Durham and wanted her off his property resulting in a verbal trespass warning to Durham by the deputy. The deputy and Durham left the scene without incident.

About an hour later dispatchers radioed deputies that Durham was back at the man's home and had "broken a window and discharged a firearm in the yard". She was reported to be "yelling" and knocking on the man's door. Deputies racing to the scene were then advised that Durham had fled the scene on Republican Road and was still armed.

A few minutes later dispatch notified deputies that a vehicle matching the description had been involved in a single vehicle crash with a "roll-over" on Republican Road. Deputies arriving on the scene were warned that Durham was armed and to use caution. Upon arrival at the scene of the crash Durham was found to be standing and talking to the first deputy that arrived.

Edgefield County EMS and the Merriwether Fire Department were also called to the scene.

Deputies located a Ruger LCP .380 pistol in the floorboard of the driver's seat area and seized the weapon. It was loaded with hollow point rounds with one round of the six round capacity clip missing from the gun. A spent shell casing was later found in the victim's yard next to his girlfriend's car. The shell casing was also photographed and seized as evidence.

Durham was transported to MCG by ambulance to be checked for injuries. The SUV was heavily damaged on the front end after striking a tree tearing the front passenger side axle from its mounting before rolling on its side. It was towed from the scene.

Durham was cited for trespassing and the investigation into the shooting incident is ongoing, Capt. Chris Wash said Monday. According to the incident report, the deputy noted "charges pending" the result of the investigation. It is unknown what, if any, additional charges could be filed. No court date was available.

Mrs. Durham is also a teacher at JET Middle School. Edgefield County School Superintendent Greg Anderson declined to comment on the matter until he had time to retrieve a copy of the incident report and review the outcome of the investigation. Mr. Anderson said he is taking the report seriously and would issue a statement later this week.


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