Crime

Rock Hill fatal more than crash, police say it was ‘intentional, malicious’

A Lancaster man has been charged with murder after he intentionally hit a motorcyclist in a York County crash in July, according to police and jail records.

Joseph Anthony Rufo, 43, was booked on a murder charge at the York County jail around noon Tuesday. S.C. Highway patrol troopers said in arrest warrants that Rufo maliciously wrecked Dedrick Strain.

Strain, 25, of Lancaster, was driving a motorcycle when he was killed in the July 3 wreck south of Rock Hill on U.S. 21, troopers said at the time of the crash.

Both Strain, the driver of a 2011 Harley Davidson motorcycle, and Rufo, driver of a 2014 Chevrolet SUV, were traveling south when the SUV attempted to change lanes, troopers said at the time.

But an arrest warrant filed Tuesday obtained by The Herald stated the collision was intentional. Rufo “intentionally struck the motorcycle,” the warrant states.

“The defendant maliciously struck the victim while traveling on U.S. 21 Bypass at a high rate of speed,” the arrest warrant states.

Troopers interviewed witnesses to the crash, arrest warrants show.

No motive for the collision was given in the warrant.

Master Trooper Gary Miller of S.C. Highway Patrol said Tuesday afternoon that Rufo “used his vehicle to intentionally strike Strain.” Miller did not release further details.

A murder conviction in South Carolina carries a sentence of 30 years in prison to life, under state law.

It is unclear if Rufo has a lawyer. Rufo is being held at the York County jail after he was denied bond Tuesday.

When Rufo was booked into the York County jail Tuesday, he gave a Clover address, according to jail officials and the York County Sheriff’s Office website. However, the arrest warrant in the case identifies Rufo as being from Firetower Road in Lancaster. The jail record later was updated, according to the sheriff’s office website.

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Andrew Dys covers breaking news and public safety for The Herald, where he has been a reporter and columnist since 2000. He has won 51 South Carolina Press Association awards for his coverage of crime, race, justice, and people. He is author of the book “Slice of Dys” and his work is in the U.S. Library of Congress.
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