COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A Columbus County man made his first appearance in court today to face charges of murder and other crimes after investigators say a robbery led to a deadly car crash. The Columbus County Sheriff’s Office says Lloyd Thomas Buffkin, 32, Sidney Cherry Rd. is charged with murder, common law robbery and assault on a government official.
It all started just before 4 p.m. when deputies were called to a robbery as the Master Mart convenience store on New Britton Highway in the Old Dock community. The clerk reported that the suspect, who was not armed, reached across the counter and stole the cash register drawer with approximately $500 in cash.
Deputies spotted the suspect speeding on Hallsboro Rd. just south of Hallsboro. Before the officers could catch up with him, they say Buffkin tried to cross over US 74/76 at a high rate of speed. Deputies say Buffkin ran the stop sign and hit a car driven by Joye Campbell, 56, of Chadbourn. They say Buffkin’s car ehicle continued across the intersection and hit another vehicle that was stopped at the stop sign on Hallsboro Rd.
Campbell was killed instantly. Buffkin received minor injuries. The people in the the third vehicle suffered injuries that are not believed to be life threatening.
The Sheriff’s Office says as officers were taking Buffkin to Columbus Regional Healthcare to be evaluated and treated, he assaulted an officer and tried to get the officer’s gun.
Buffkin may face more charges. He’s expected to make a first appearance tomorrow at the Columbus County Courthouse.
According to Department of Corrections records, Buffkin’s criminal record includes convictions for breaking and entering, car theft, gun theft, burglary and drug possession.
Buffkin is due back in court April 11.