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Gaston police pursuit ends when suspect crashes, runs on foot, then taken into custody

Gaston, SC (Paul Kirby) - A man who led Gaston Police Department’s Major Stephen Watkins on a high-speed pursuit and foot chase Saturday evening ended up being arrested and booked on a multitude of charges. This started in Gaston and ended when the suspect crashed in the Sharpe’s Hill area of the county. The driver then tried to run on foot, but Watkins ran him down and quickly took him into custody.

Watkins was on patrol Saturday evening when he got behind a Dodge Caravan that had a paper tag on it. Watkins said that he knew that the lot that appeared on the tag no longer sold to the public and was only a wholesaler. The van also had no working brake lights. When Watkins activated his warning devices near Glenn Road and Hwy. 321 south, the vehicle originally complied and pulled over in a convenience store parking lot. As Watkins exited the cruiser to approach the van, it suddenly sped away. Watkins immediately ran back to his patrol car and gave chase.

The fleeing driver went down Glenn Road and turned onto Fish Hatchery. Officers from both South Congaree and Swansea Police Department’s began to try to get ahead of the fleeing suspect to assist Watkins in bringing the chase to an end. Eventually, the speeding van got to the traffic roundabout at SC Hwy. 6 and Fish Hatchery Road where Watkins planned to use a PIT maneuver (Pursuit Intervention Technique) that would spin the van, ending the chase. Before he could put his plan into action, the driver lost control and the vehicle spun and came to a stop. The driver then jumped out and ran on foot. Watkins exited his cruiser at that point and chased the man down where he then placed him under arrest.

Watkins said that Shawn McCown was booked Saturday night on charges of possession of methamphetamines, failure to stop for a blue light, and driving under suspension 6th offense. He was also in possession of a yet to be identified bag of pills and a syringe. Once those are positively identified, the appropriate charges will be added. McCown was also wanted on warrants out of Lexington and Kershaw Counties.

Watkins said that he wanted to thank the other municipal departments that assisted in the pursuit. He said that cooperation between the small departments is invaluable to protect the towns they patrol.

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