North Charleston Police Department policy largely gives officers leeway in deciding whether to start and continue a pursuit. It poses some of the following questions and considerations for officers:Does the seriousness of the crime warrant high speeds?What’s the possibility of apprehension?Can the suspect be located later?Will the pursuit take place on residential streets, in a business district or on a freeway?Motorists won’t be expecting a police pursuit and might not be aware of officers’ presence.Traffic and road conditions.Is the risk to the public greater than the need for the pursuit?
A police officer looking for a man who bought an iPad with $450 in counterfeit cash scored an even bigger stash after chasing a suspect through North Charleston: 118 oxycodone pills and $1,100.
But it didn’t come without a price; three vehicles were damaged and five people were injured.
The loot was found inside a Ford pickup Saturday afternoon after a 1.5-mile pursuit that reached 100 mph on Ashley Phosphate Road. The truck, which had been suspected of involvement in the counterfeiting case, struck a 17-year-old woman’s vehicle during the pursuit, but she was not hurt.
The ordeal ended when the pickup crashed into a concrete utility pole and was rear-ended by a police cruiser.
Four men in the truck, all of whom have arrest histories, and the police officer suffered minor injuries.
The suspects were released on personal recognizance after brief stays in the county jail.
They each face a charge of possession with intent to distribute Schedule 2 drugs because they declined to claim the highly addictive painkillers, according to an incident report.
They are Jackie Ivan Coaxum Jr., 21, of Dorchester Manor Boulevard in North Charleston; Zackery Alexis Frankie Aiken, 19, of Midland Drive in North Charleston; Jamal Rashad Harris, 19, of Root Branch Road in Pineville; and Tyvon Sydell Walker, 20, of Warm Avenue in North Charleston.
Coaxum, who was driving the pickup, also faces charges of failure to stop for blue lights and driving under suspension.
The Post and Courier asked about the incident Monday after fielding inquiries from readers, but North Charleston police spokesman Spencer Pryor said he had no record of it.
Pryor released a report Wednesday, after the newspaper pointed out Coaxum’s arrest. The discrepency arose from a miscommunication by police supervisors, he said.
Events leading to the chase started the day after Christmas, when a Hanahan man told the police that he sold a new Apple iPad to a man in North Charleston for $450.
When the seller took the 20 $20 bills and one $50 bill to the bank, he learned that they were counterfeit. He reported the episode to police, and told North Charleston Officer Ryan Terrell that the iPad buyer, later identified in a report as Walker, and two other men were riding in a white Ford F-250.
On Dec. 29, Terrell was patrolling in a cruiser when he saw the pickup on Ashley Phosphate Road. Four people were inside, including several without seat belts, he reported.
At about 2:30 p.m. the pickup sped up when Terrell signaled for a traffic stop near Cross County Road. The vehicle hit speeds of 100 mph. When it ran a red light at Windsor Hill Boulevard, the pickup clipped a Mercury sport utility vehicle.
The SUV’s driver, Anna Kormanova, was not hurt.
“She was an innocent victim,” said Cpl. Bob Beres, a spokesman for the S.C. Highway Patrol, which investigated the crash. “She was turning onto Ashley Phosphate Road. ... He continued toward Dorchester Road.”
When the pickup tried a sharp turn at Dorchester Manor Boulevard, where Coaxum lives, it crashed into a concrete post. Terrell, the first of two pursuing officers, tried to brake, but his car hit the back of the pickup, he reported.
Coaxum ran, but the police later caught him, according to the report.
The three passengers were handcuffed.
Terrell managed to kick his way out of his damaged cruiser, then he covered Aiken, one of the truck’s passengers, with a blanket because he was going into shock, Terrell reported.
In a plastic bag stuffed into the pickup’s center console, the police found 118 pills that appeared to be oxycodone, the report stated.
Walker, the counterfeiting suspect, had $1,073 in cash. Another $71 was on the floor. It was not known whether the money was real.
During a bond hearing Saturday, Magistrate Priscilla Baldwin set each suspect’s bail at $5,000 on the drug charges, and they were released later that day. Coaxum also posted $2,000 bail on the count of fleeing from police.
Coaxum was convicted in 2009 of giving false information to the police, according to the State Law Enforcement Division. He was on probation after pleading guilty to a 2011 charge of possessing cocaine base.
Aiken was convicted in 2011 of marijuana possession. He faced the same charge in August, but was later acquitted.
Harris has a misdemeanor arrest history, including a conviction for disorderly conduct. He was arrested on a drug count in September 2011, but the charge was dropped.
Walker has been arrested once, in November 2009. He was convicted of possession of alcohol by a minor.
It was not known whether investigators recovered the iPad that Walker is accused of buying with fake cash.
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.
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