The North Charleston Police Department's pursuit policy mirrors state law in allowing emergency vehicles to:Proceed past a red or stop signal or stop sign, but only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operations.Exceed the maximum speed limit if he/she does not endanger life or property.Disregard regulations governing directions of movement or turning in specific directions.
The pursuit lasted just 65 seconds.
But in that time, police cruisers hit nearly 100 mph, weaved through traffic on Ashley Phosphate Road and ran a red light at 85 mph.
Video released Thursday depicts those scenes as two cruisers from the North Charleston Police Department chased a pickup truck whose driver was suspected of involvement in a counterfeiting case.
The pursuit ended about 1.5 miles after it started Saturday when the four-door Ford crashed into a utility pole. Officer Ryan Terrell, the lead pursuer who has been with the department for four years, could not brake in time and rear-ended the wrecked pickup.
Police supervisors will review the pursuit to determine whether any policies were violated, such as one provision that mirrors state law and advises officers to approach red lights and stop signs with caution. Chief Jon Zumalt was unavailable to comment Thursday, police spokesman Spencer Pryor said.
The S.C. Highway Patrol is investigating the wrecks.
The police found more than $1,100 in cash and 118 oxycodone pills inside. It was not known whether any of the money was phony.
Arrested were the driver, Jackie Ivan Coaxum Jr., and passengers Zackery Alexis Frankie Aiken, Jamal Rashad Harris and Tyvon Sydell Walker. Each faces a drug charge. They quickly posted a $5,000 bail the same day.
Coaxum also faces counts of failing to stop for blue lights and driving under suspension.
Terrell spotted the pickup Saturday afternoon. It matched the description of a suspect's vehicle in a case from three days earlier, when a Hanahan man said he sold an Apple iPad to Walker for $450 in fake paper money. The man reported the transaction to Terrell.
The dashboard video, which was obtained through an S.C. Freedom of Information Act request, is taken from the patrol car of Officer Joshua Ranck.
Ranck's cruiser pulls behind Terrell's fully marked police car as the pickup slows and pulls into the center turn lane near Ashley Phosphate and Cross County roads, apparently heeding the blue lights. But the white Ford accelerates, hitting 90 mph within the first 15 seconds.
Ranck takes second position during the entire pursuit and reaches 98 mph. It's smooth but quick sailing in the inside lane until the officers approach a red light at Windsor Hill Boulevard. Both cruisers make quick lane changes; the Ford is veiled by dust kicked up from the center turn lane.
At the intersection, a collision between the Ford and a 17-year-old woman's sport utility vehicle isn't easily noticeable. What's apparent is a close call between Terrell's cruiser and a car turning into traffic at a green light.
Terrell swerves to avoid a collision. Both cruisers are traveling about 85 mph.
A short time later, the Ford fails to negotiate a right turn at Dorchester Manor Boulevard and strikes a concrete post. Terrell's cruiser turns in behind the Ford and slams into its rear with considerable force.
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The Ford's driver is seen scurrying away, with other officers giving chase on foot. A pickup then screeches into the left side of the video frame, bounding off the road toward the running men.
Pryor, the police spokesman, said the pickup was not involved in the chase. It was not known whether its driver was trying to avoid a collision with the police.
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.
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