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Man arrested after fleeing traffic stop in Gaston

Gaston, SC (Paul Kirby) – A man is in custody after he fled from police after a traffic stop in Gaston on Tuesday. He was eventually arrested and transported from the mobile home where he was hiding to Lexington Medical Center for treatment before being taken to the Lexington County Detention Center to be booked into the jail.

According to Major Stephen Watkins of the Gaston Police Department, he was on routine patrol on South Main Street when he spotted Chad Huggins driving a vehicle. Watkins had dealt with Huggins many times before and knew that he did not have a driver’s license.

Watkins tried to stop Huggins' vehicle, but Huggins initiated a short chase that ended when he turned into the parking lot of a small business near New Hope Worship Center. At that point, he jumped from his vehicle and fled into a wooded area in the direction of Blackville Road. Watkins stood by with Huggins' vehicle and waited for officers from other departments and the county to help set a perimeter.

The officers' in car computers provided information that allowed them to know that Huggins had a propensity to violence. He was known to carry guns and knives and had said previously that he would use those weapons against law enforcement officers in order to keep from returning to jail.

Huggins fled in the direction of his home, which was about a mile through the woods from the spot where he fled the vehicle. As he fled, he undressed, leaving his pants and shirt behind. Not only was he running in his underwear, Huggins was also identifiable because of distinctive teardrop tattoos on his face, his bald head, and distinctive gang style tattoos on his neck.

K-9 handlers from Lexington County arrived and immediately set their dogs on Huggins’ track. As more officers arrived, they went to a mobile home that they knew Huggins often shared with a woman nearby. The officers had reason to believe that Huggins had made it to the house and was hiding inside the home. They announced that they were going to turn the dogs loose in the residence if he didn’t surrender. Huggins was in the home hiding in a closet at the time, and was armed with two knives.

At that point, Major Watkins yelled into the home that Huggins needed to surrender before the dogs were released. Huggins had a rapport with Watkins from previous encounters and he told Watkins that he would give up peacefully if the deputies held the dogs and did not set them loose in the home to attack. At that point, Huggins surrendered and came out without further incident.

After Huggins was placed under arrest, he was treated and transported by a crew from Lexington EMS after complaining of dehydration. After being treated at the Lexington Medical Center, Huggins was booked into the detention center.

According to Major Watkins, Huggins is being charged with being a habitual traffic offender, a felony charge, driving under suspension 3rd offense, possession of drug paraphernalia, and resisting arrest. He will also be charged with other minor traffic offenses like operating the vehicle without insurance and driving an unregistered vehicle.

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