Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Running from the Law...

Yesterday at a little after 5PM, I turned on the local news. I say 'local', but it's actually coming out of an area an hour away from us, and basically focuses on that area, but it does report on things in surrounding counties. What was on the screen was a high speed chase, which started in the city closest to us (where we shop) which is about 12 miles away from us. 

Picture this... a guy, reported to be armed and dangerous, steals a car..(.mistake #1) and heads north. It wasn't just 'a car' was a Circuit Court JUDGE's car! (Mistake #2)  He is soon being tailed by a bright yellow highway patrol car, so he speeds up, often reaching speeds above 100 mph on a busy interstate. (Mistake #3)  It is rush hour, and the road is full of cars, so he takes an exit and drives up a less congested major highway.  The yellow patrol car is now joined by three black and white police cars from various counties.  Entrance ramps are being blocked by other patrol cars, in order to keep the drivers from possible danger from this 'armed and dangerous' car thief with little concern about his speed.

We sat glued to the tv, watching this chase, wondering how this will all end.  The news helicopter filmed the entire thing. The police chopper never lost sight of the car. The black and whites kept following the yellow highway patrol vehicle. At a few times the offending car was hit in the rear corner of the bumper by one of the police cars, in an effort to stop him, but the efforts were unsuccessful.  On two occasions, some big rigs attempted to trap him on the two lane highway, but although it did allow the chasers to safely catch up, the criminal got away. At one point two 18 wheelers slowed him down, by staying side by side at a very slow speed, nearly a stop. The SUV driver decided to pass on the left, between the guard rail and the truck, and the semi driver saw it coming, and swerved his cab slightly, nearly causing a crash. Unfortunately, the SUV maneuvered itself  around the semi, and again, he was speeding off. 

This chase spanned a little over an hour of time and five counties.  As soon as the road was clear enough of drivers, police ordered stop strips to be used.  That's how the speeder was stopped...he saw them ahead of him, and stopped the SUV. He still wasn't ready to give himself up voluntarily. As the news helicopter filmed the whole thing, the police men circled the SUV with guns drawn, some of them entering the car from the back seat. They must have been able to unlock the door on the driver's side, because before we knew it, there were a few officers dragging the driver out of the car. He was laid on the ground without incident, handcuffed, and taken to the patrol car.  He was a muscular looking guy who looked like he could have caused some serious damage to one or two men, but he must have known that it would have been a waste of energy, with several weapons pointed on him.

Thankfully, this scene ended with no one being hurt.  We don't know why he chose to steal a car, but I suspect that he wasn't thinking clearly. He now has a string of crimes to be charged with.  I'm not sure he has much of a defense, but I think the courts may have to find an out of state judge to hear the case, because I'm sure all of SC has heard this story!  Forgive me, but somehow, I'm not feeling too sorry for the criminal about that.