Piedmont man arrested following chase, manhunt

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Matthew Scott Hafler (photo)Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested Matthew Scott Hafler, 23, of Piedmont Thursday following a vehicle pursuit in the Wren-spearman area which resulted in manhunt and lock-down of Spearman Elementary School.

Around 9:15am Thursday, a deputy was assisting a stranded motorist on Highway 17 when a black Dodge Ram pickup truck passed his location. The deputy recognized the truck as matching the description of a vehicle that had been reported as stolen earlier that morning from a residence on Kensington Lake Road in Easley.

The deputy attempted to catch up to the vehicle which turned on to Campbell Road from Highway 81. As the suspect vehicle rounded a curve in the road, the driver lost control of the truck and struck a guard rail, disabling the vehicle.

The suspect then ran into the nearby woods.

Sheriff’s deputies established a perimeter and K-9 teams attempted to locate the suspect. The agency’s helicopter also assisted in the search.

Around 10:30am, the fleeing suspect, later identified as Hafler, broke into a storage building at a nearby residence on Fire Tower Road. He reportedly took a motorcycle license plate from the building and attempted to take a bag of tools, but he was spotted by a concerned neighbor and fled the scene.

Just before noon, Hafler was spotted by deputies as he crossed an open field near Massey Road. When deputies attempted to take him into custody he resisted arrest and at one point during the struggle he struck one of the deputies in the head.

He was ultimately taken into custody and treated on-scene by a SWAT Team Medic for scrapes and scratches he sustained from the thick brush and thorns.

Hafler was transported to the Anderson County Detention Center and charged with reckless driving, failure to stop for blue lights, burglary 3

rd degree, and resisting arrest with assault on a police officer. Additional charges may be pending.