The Mercury SUV first caught someone’s attention outside the Walmart in Goose Creek.
That’s where Summerville resident Jacob Thiry said it crashed into a minivan.
“The guy got out of the car and started walking down the road toward the Walmart,” Thiry said. “Then he turns around and runs back into the car and drives away.”
Thiry summoned police to the St. James Avenue store, but that was just the start of it.
Officers caught up with the stolen sport utility, but the Mercury continued onto Interstate 26 and avoided the spikes that the police had set out for it. Their second attempt at deflating its tires worked, and they arrested the driver at gunpoint.
So who caused the multi-county hubbub during Thursday’s rush hour, according to police? A 12-year-old boy.
A police dashcam video shows the boy racing through a field attempting to elude authorities after fleeing from them on U.S. Highways 52 and 78. The juvenile made his way onto I-26 eastbound, where he was chased from near Ashley Phosphate Road to Montague Avenue.
Traffic on the interstate thinned as police blocked I-26 east on-ramps. North Charleston officers and an unmarked car joined in the chase, which ended abruptly in the middle of the interstate when the SUV stopped.
Three officers with guns drawn, and one holding a police dog by the collar, converged on the suspect. A copy of the tape provided by police ended before the suspect can be seen in custody.
The boy, who was not identified because he is a juvenile, faces charges of possessing a stolen vehicle, failing to stop for blue lights, leaving the scene of an accident involving an unattended vehicle and driving without a license. The Goose Creek Police Department said the Mercury might have been taken from his mother.
Juveniles who are arrested typically are allowed to return to their parents. But an incident report stated that the driver was taken to a “juvenile removal home.”
The facilities are foster homes, according to the S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice.
The incident started about 5:40 p.m. with the alleged hit-and-run at Walmart.
When officers found the SUV, it was eastbound on St. James Avenue near Thomason Boulevard. The driver did not stop and got on eastbound I-26, the report stated.
The driver maneuvered around the “stop sticks” that had been laid down by North Charleston police near the Remount Road interchange. The second set of spikes near Montague Avenue deflated two tires and halted the SUV.
Mary Lee Taylor, a representative of the foster facility where the boy was taken later that day, said that she didn’t know many details about the accusations.
But, Taylor said, she kept checking on the boy overnight Thursday to make sure he didn’t take off.
Prentiss Findlay contributed to this report.
Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.