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Man arrested after leading multiple departments of pursuit Monday afternoon

Gaston, SC 07/27/2021 (Paul Kirby) – A habitual traffic offender led officers from several police departments on a high-speed chase Monday afternoon. According to Chief Stephen Watkins of the Gaston Police Department, this all started when one of his officers was patrolling and saw a driver operating a vehicle in a reckless manner.

Watkins said that Officer Wilke of the GPD was patrolling in the vicinity of Glenn Road and Gardners Terrace Road when he spotted the reckless driver. When he got behind the vehicle, it began to accelerate and passed slower cars in an unsafe manner even before Wilke could activate the warning lights and siren on his cruiser. When he did turn them on, the driver simply ignored them and sped away.

Officer Wilke quickly ran a check of the fleeing vehicle license tag. That check revealed that the vehicle had been reported stolen by the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department.

Wilke gave chase as officers from Gaston, South Congaree, Springdale, and additional agencies began trying to vector in on the fleeing driver. He drove out of the Gaston area and turned onto roads bounded by Edmund Highway, Fish Hatchery Road, Gator Road, and Church Street between South Congaree and Edmund communities. There, he began turning down the smaller roads that bisect the area. At one point, he even turned onto the railroad tracks in an attempt to elude the officers that were trying to stop him.

At some point, the tires on the car the man was driving began to fail. As he turned back and forth trying to shake the police, the vehicle blew two of its tires. Officers thought this might be enough to get the man stopped but he kept driving. Eventually, a third tire blew yet the man kept trying to control the skidding car. The driver eventually did lose control of the vehicle near Luther and Valley Roads and crashed. He was taken into custody almost immediately. He was checked by a crew from Lexington County EMS after the crash.

According to Chief Watkins, Steven Daniel Phillips, Jr,, age 24, has been charged with Driving Under Suspension 3rd Offense, Reckless Driving, Failure to Stop for Blue Lights, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and for being a habitual traffic offender. He was also charged with Possession of a Stolen Vehicle and had warrants from the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department.

Phillips was booked into the Lexington County Detention Center where he is being held Tuesday morning pending a bond hearing.


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