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Habitual offender arrested after vehicle pursuit, foot chase near Swansea

Swansea, SC – Gaston police officers teamed up with the Swansea Police Department Tuesday afternoon to take a habitual offender off the streets. The man was taken into custody after a long vehicle pursuit, crash, and short foot chase. Lesley Jerome Brown was charged under the state’s habitual offender laws with Driving Under Suspension 3rd Offense, Possession of and/or trying to Conceal or Dispose of a Stolen Vehicle, Possession of Methamphetamine, Reckless Driving, Resisting Arrest, and Failure to Stop for a Blue Light.

Brown initiated the pursuit after being spotted behind the wheel of a pickup truck in Gaston by Major Stephen Watkins of the Gaston Police Department. Watkins was patrolling on Main Street near Mack when Brown passed him driving. Through previous encounters, Watkins knew that Brown was driving illegally, turned his Charger around, and attempted to stop him. When Watkins activated his warning devices, instead of stopping, Brown accelerated down Hwy. 321 south toward Swansea.

As Watkins notified the county communications center that he was in pursuit, Brown reached speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour on Southbound Road (Hwy 321). Gaston’s Police Chief Shawn Mohundro was attempting to catch up to the chase, and Swansea Police Chief Clif Hayes and other officers began trying to home in on the speeding truck to cut him off. As the chase entered the Swansea community , Brown drove his truck right through the heart of town, turned onto Whetstone Road, and then sped southwest before turning onto Lee Whitt Road. At the end of Lee Whitt, he crossed back over Hwy. 321 and got onto Burton Gunter Road. At this point, Chief Hayes’ intimate knowledge of the area came into play as he directed other officers to alternate routes to get in front of the truck. When Brown turned onto Redmond Mill Road, Chief Hayes had beat him there and was set up to intercept. Brown felt like he wasn’t done just yet and turned into a plowed field where he came back out on Burton Gunter Road again. An officer attempted to spike his tires but was unable to get set up before the truck and pursuing police cruiser sped by. He eventually made his way back to Whetstone Road where he lost control of the truck and hit a tree. He then fled on foot but was taken into custody a short time later.

Major Watkins said that the team effort of the two departments were instrumental in taking the suspect off the streets. “We have a great relationship with Chief Hayes and his department help, and his knowledge of the roads in that area is unsurpassed. Without the help of Chief Hayes and the other officers who assisted, this may have had a different outcome.”

Brown has been booked into the Lexington County Detention Center where he will have a bond hearing sometime Wednesday.

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