Lexington, PD (Paul Kirby) – The driver of a vehicle that an officer from the Lexington Police Department tried to stop led officers on a pursuit that ended when the fleeing driver crashed the car he was driving in the City of West Columbia. No civilians or officers were injured during the chase, but an EMS crew responded to the scene to check the occupants of the vehicle that failed to stop.
Around 11:00 p.m. Sunday night, the driver of the suspect vehicle initiated the pursuit after the Lexington PD officer activated his emergency signals well inside the town’s limits. Instead of pulling over, the suspect instead accelerated and tried to get away.
Lexington has a pursuit policy in place that requires that the officer contact the on-duty supervisor via radio before simply taking off giving chase. That supervisor decides if a pursuit is warranted after weighing several factors. They look at the offense the driver is believed to have committed, the current traffic conditions on the roads, the speed at which the fleeing suspects are travelling, and how reckless the suspect is driving, to ensure the safety of the public, the suspects, and the officers in pursuit. Last night, the on-duty supervisor gave the okay for the officer to chase the suspect vehicle.
The fleeing car came out South Lake Drive, turned left on Two Notch Road, sped out to Kittiwake Drive, and turned right on Augusta Road. During this entire process, the supervisor for the town was communicating with dispatch requesting that troopers from the SCHP, deputies from the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, and officers from other agencies be notified to intercept.
The Lexington PD supervisor also gave permission for stop sticks, tire deflation devices used in this type of situation, to be deployed if someone could get positioned at a point ahead of the fleeing vehicle. With these sticks an officer has to be far enough ahead of the chase so that he can throw the device into the patch of the suspect’s vehicle at just the right time.
At the intersection of Augusta and Wattling Roads right at the Fat Boys restaurant, the suspect lost control of his vehicle and spun out, crashing the car. This was a single car wreck that did not involve another motorist or the officers that were giving chase.
The occupants of the vehicle tried to flee at this point on foot. At least one suspect was quickly taken into custody by officers who were converging on the scene of the wreck.
Once again, the on-duty supervisor came into play quickly requesting K-9s respond to the scene in case they were needed. He also requested an EMS unit for anyone who might have been injured in the crash. The West Columbia Fire Department responded because fluids were leaking from the crashed vehicle into the road.
We have requested more information regarding why the officer initially tried to stop the vehicle, how many people were arrested, their names, what their conditions were after the wreck, and what they are being charged with from the Lexington PD. We will update this story as we receive any additional details.