Swansea, SC (Paul Kirby) – A man has been arrested and charged with multiple crimes after leading a Swansea police sergeant on a high-speed pursuit Saturday afternoon. Benjamin Whitaker, 47, lost control of the car he was driving while trying to turn onto a dirt road at high-speed and slammed underneath a mobile home ending the chase.
According to the Swansea sergeant, Whitaker was driving a Chrysler on I.W. Hutto Road in Swansea when he first ran its licenses plate. That car was reported as stolen out of Lexington County. Instead of yielding to the officer’s warning devices when activated, Whitaker sped away at a high rate of speed. Swansea’s officer gave pursuit in his Pursuit Package equipped Dodge Charger.
The two speeding vehicles made their way out of town and eventually ended up on Happy Town Road headed toward Gaston. Whitaker attempted to turn left onto Graball Road at speeds in excess of 80 miles-per-hour when he lost control of the stolen car, ran through a broad yard, and struck a singlewide mobile home knocking its entrance steps upside down in the yard. Because of the height of the home, Whitaker’s speed propelled him further under the home until the front post of the passenger door brought it to a stop. The car was totaled in the collision with the home.
Swansea’s police officer, who is expertly trained in pursuit driving, came to a controlled stop in home’s yard, approached the crashed car, but notice it was smoking like it might catch fire. He notified his dispatch center who sent help from the Lexington County Fire Service and EMS. Both responded and checked out Whitaker and the smoking vehicle. Once it was established that the car wasn’t going to burst into flames and Whitaker wasn’t seriously injured, he was placed under arrest.
According to the Swansea Police Department, Whitaker has been charged with receiving stolen goods valued at less than $2,000, failure to stop for blue lights, operating an uninsured vehicle, driving under suspension second offense, simple possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
He was booked into the Lexington County Detention Center where he remained Sunday afternoon. His bond amount had either not been set or has not been released as of 1:45 p.m. on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 21, 2020.