Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Police arrest man in Oconee Nuclear Station incident

Oconee Nuclear Station
Oconee Nuclear Station

UPDATE, Nov. 3, 2023, 7:50 p.m.: The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office says it has arrested 66-year-old Doyle Whisenhunt, of Arkansas, in connection with an incident at Oconee Nuclear Station Thursday night.

Whisenhunt is accused of driving through security and through a gate at the plant outside Seneca.

UPDATE, Nov. 3, 2023, 10 p.m.: Whisenhunt has been charged with one count each of attempted murder, malicious injury to personal property, and unlawful entry into an enclosed place.

He was also charged in a separate incident with one count of hit and run. Police say as Whisenhunt was involved in a motor vehicle accident and failed to remain on the scene.

The accident occurred Thursday on Rochester Highway.


Sheriff Mike Crenshaw said in a press conference Friday afternoon that officials do not yet suspect that the incident was a terrorist action.

On Thursday, the OCSO reported that the driver of a car with Arkansas license plates had showed up at the plant around 7 p.m. and was asked to leave. An hour later, the same man reportedly returned and drove through the exit side of the gate on the Highway 183 side of the facility.

“After the vehicle struck the pop-up barricades that security at the plant activated, the driver backed the vehicle up and proceeded down a dirt road, where Duke Energy security blocked the vehicle in,” a press statement said. “The driver then drove through a fence, after attempting to hit the security officers.”

According to OCSD, the driver then drove out of the exit of the plant, where he attempted to hit a security truck with a guard in it. After driving back onto Highway 183, the driver then drove into Pickens County and pulled onto some property on Jones Mill Road, where shots were fired.

Crenshaw said Friday that the shots were fired by a private property owner and not law enforcement, security, or the suspect.

Anyone with information is asked to contact 911 or the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, and to not approach the suspect.

Photo of suspect Doyle Whisenhunt
Scott Morgan
Photo of suspect Doyle Whisenhunt

UPDATE, Nov. 3, 11:27 a.m.: In a statement, Duke Energy said that Oconee Nuclear Station is operating safely.

"Duke Energy has comprehensive security plans and a well-trained security workforce in place," according to the statement. "A vehicle entered an administrative gate, but was not able to access the plant due to our multiple layers of security. No one was injured."

The FBI stated that the agency is aware of the incident and has communicated with local law enforcement, but referred all further questions to OCSD.

This is an evolving story and will be updated as new information arises. The original text of the story has been edited to reflect the most current information.

Scott Morgan is the Upstate multimedia reporter for South Carolina Public Radio, based in Rock Hill. He cut his teeth as a newspaper reporter and editor in New Jersey before finding a home in public radio in Texas. Scott joined South Carolina Public Radio in March of 2019. His work has appeared in numerous national and regional publications as well as on NPR and MSNBC. He's won numerous state, regional, and national awards for his work including a national Edward R. Murrow.