Wild chase arrest not driver’s 1st

A Charleston County sheriff’s deputy’s cruiser collided with a Dodge sedan near Cranford and Red Bank roads around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in Goose Creek.

A woman with a history of driving without a license led deputies on a pursuit that exceeded 100 mph, stretched over 12 miles and racked up $60,000 in damage to two patrol cars, according to an incident report and video released Thursday.

Tewonna Lashay Sallie, 28, whose license was suspended more than two years ago for failing to pay car taxes, was arrested Wednesday after her shiny red Dodge Charger crashed into two sheriff’s cruisers on a residential side street off Red Bank Road.

She told a judge in bond court Thursday that she lives in an apartment complex at 3000 Harbour Lake Drive, which is within walking distance of where she crashed her car.

Video from one deputy’s car shows that her Dodge steered into the cruiser’s path, causing the collision that ended the chase on Cranford Road, in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Goose Creek.

Sallie was on probation for a felony breach of trust conviction when a Charleston police officer spotted her Dodge Wednesday on Savannah Highway in West Ashley. The officer ran her license plate and learned that it was suspended, department spokesman Charles Francis said.

But the Dodge didn’t pull over, and the officer let the car go onto Interstate 526.

Deputies from the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office were notified to be on the lookout. They got behind the Dodge shortly after 6 p.m. near Leeds Avenue and, with blue lights flashing, followed it at 45 mph on I-526. When it entered westbound Interstate 26, the Dodge picked up speed.

“It was observed weaving in and out of traffic lanes, not signaling, traveling at speeds up to and over 100 mph,” a deputy wrote in the report.

From the U.S. Highway 52 exit, the Dodge continued to elude the authorities and eventually reached Red Bank Road in Berkeley County.

That’s when the route became circuitous.

The Dodge passed cars on the grassy shoulder and, at times, traveled on the wrong side of the street. The deputies did the same.

Officers from Goose Creek and Hanahan, deputies from Berkeley County and state troopers were informed of the chase, sheriff’s Maj. Jim Brady said. But Charleston County deputies, who had left their patrol jurisdiction, remained in control.

The Dodge made brief appearances in the parking lots of a Hardee’s, a Food Lion and Goose Creek High School. It reached 60 mph on residential streets, struck a wire fence, then barreled down Cranford Road, where Sallie once lived.

“She’s circling here for a reason,” a deputy said, according to the video.

After screeching through a Sunoco gas station parking lot off Red Bank Road, the Dodge again turned onto Cranford Road. That’s when its right quarter panel struck a cruiser in its travel lane.

When the Dodge attempted a U-turn, it pulled into another cruiser’s path and crashed, prompting moans and groans from an injured deputy.

“Just sit tight and don’t move,” another deputy told her.

Sallie was arrested after a “short struggle,” the report stated. She and two injured deputies were briefly hospitalized, but nobody was seriously hurt.

Sallie was charged with failing to stop for blue lights, driving under suspension for the fourth time, expired vehicle tag and failure to surrender an expired driver’s license and license plate, as well as a probation violation. Magistrate Alvin Bligen set her total bail at more than $102,816 Thursday.

The Highway Patrol is investigating and had not released its report.

Sallie also has struggled with legal issues off the road.

A North Charleston police report stated that she stole $325 from the Little Caesars restaurant where, according to the resume she posted online, she worked as an assistant manager.

She also has been arrested on charges that she took $1,900 in jewelry from a roommate and that she stole another roommate’s ATM card and used the cash she withdrew to open a new bank account.

But most of her arrests have been associated with the Dodge.

Since 2010, she has been arrested for driving with a suspended license three times in North Charleston. Twice, officers reported that she wasn’t using a turn signal.

On her Facebook page, Sallie has posted photographs of her 2006 Charger, a car known for its power. One of the photos shows a message that Sallie had written in the snow blanketing the Dodge.

“Sexy car,” it says.

Dave Munday contributed to this story.