Swansea, SC (Paul Kirby) – Swansea Police Chief Cliff Hayes took two people into custody Monday afternoon after they initiated a long car pursuit by refusing to stop for his blue lights. He was assisted by deputies from the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department during the chase and after it came to an end. Eventually, the pursuit covered nearly 25 miles of country roads and highways.
Chief Hayes was patrolling the town when he got behind a vehicle that had an expired tag on SC Hwy. 6 near the high school. The vehicle also had paint overspray in several places that led him to believe that someone had tried to alter the look of the vehicle. This is usually used as a technique to change the appearance of a stolen car. When Chief Hayes activated his warning devices, the driver of the car first stopped, and then sped away when the chief approached.
During the first part of the pursuit, the driver of the fleeing car was driving about 70 miles-per-hour. He turned on to Calvary Church Road, took several back roads, and eventually got back on Hwy. 21, crossing into Calhoun County. The cars were heading toward St. Matthews and Orangeburg County when Calhoun County deputies joined in. Chief Mike Crider of the Pelion PD was invaluable in advising Chief Hayes over the radio about road conditions and names he was unfamiliar with. Chief Crider lives in the area and is very familiar with those back country roads.
At one point, the bad guys accelerated to speeds in excess of 90 miles-per hour, but the fleeing car was no match for the chief’s pursuit Charger. They also couldn’t match the driving skills of the chief who’s had decades of experience driving police cruisers.
Eventually, the fleeing car made it to Crider Pond Road and Fall Branch Road where Chief Hayes used a PIT maneuver, or Pursuit Intervention Technique, to spin the fleeing suspect vehicle out. When the Calhoun County deputies bailed out with their K-9, the suspects gave up.
According to Chief Hayes, Furman Prickett, a 41 year-old white male, and Jason Poole, a 33 year-old white male, have been charged with a litany of charges. These include failure to stop for a blue light, possession of Methamphetamine, Driving Under Suspension, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of a Stolen Vehicle, and Possession of a Weapon by a Felon. Chief Hayes said the pair had a number of stolen licences plates in the car with them when they were stopped. One of the two already had an ankle monitor on as a condition of release by another agency.
Both men have been booked into the Lexington County Detention Center where they will soon face a bond hearing.