Swansea, SC (Paul Kirby) – For Swansea Police Chief Clif Hayes, he now has proof that his new Destroyer Gray Dodge Chargers were just what the town needed to enforce the law. A three-county pursuit around 3:00 a.m. Wednesday, showed that an expert driver like Chief Hayes behind the wheel of one of the new cars, can hold its own with just about anything that’s on the roads of Lexington County.
Wednesday morning, Chief Hayes was working the late shift and had returned from booking someone into the jail when he got behind a car in town. He thought he recognized it and had knowledge it was reported stolen. A quick check of records indicated the car was a Dodge Charger “Scat Pack”, and it had been reported stolen. It had also been involved in several pursuits with other agencies. When the chief activated his warning devices to pull it over, the driver initiated a pursuit and sped away.
The Charger “Scat Pack” is an optional performance package that can be ordered for about $40,000. To many, it’s known as the poor man’s “Hellcat”. The “Scat Pack” for the HEMI equipped Charger goes all out. According to www.autobytel.com it includes Mopar performance CNC ported cylinder heads, Mopar hi-flow headers, and engine calibration. It produces 485 horsepower and 475 lb.-ft. of torque and is mated to the TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission. These cars are incredibly fast and made for performance. When the driver of this car took off, Chief Hayes jumped right in behind him with his new Police Pursuit Package Charger.
Chief Hayes said that the driver fled out of Swansea on Hwy. 692 toward Calhoun County before eventually making his way back into Orangeburg County. He said it was evident that the driver had experience handling the super-fast car because of the way he was driving, however the chief’s own skills and the empty roads, allowed him to stay right with the lightning-fast car. Eventually, the two made their way back through the town of North, SC in Orangeburg County. Then, they headed back toward Lexington County.
On Hwy. 178 at about 4:00 a.m., the driver of the fleeing car thought he could outrun the chief and really opened it up on the empty highway. At times, he was running in excess of 140 mph. Chief Hayes stayed right with him as they crossed Poole’s Mill in Mack Edisto. At one point, the chief says, the car tried to turn onto Cedarcreek Road, skidded, and almost crashed. The driver aborted the turn and continued down Hwy. 178. All the while, the chief was trying to locate anyone else via radio that could spike the fleeing car's tires and end the chase. All state troopers assigned to the county were in the Lexington area, and many of the municipal police departments were either too far away or had no one out. A deputy did try to assist, but he wasn’t able to get out in front of the speeding Chargers with his Tahoe. Right outside the town of Pelion, with speeds still in excess of 130 mph, it began to rain. At that point, the chase was terminated.
Chief Hayes said Wednesday afternoon that he thinks he has enough information to find the driver and the stolen car. He also said that he was very happy with the performance of his new Dodge, one of a pair of two he recently bought to replace very old Crown Victorias. Hayes said by telephone interview Thursday that eventually, someone will get the driver of the car and he will go to jail.