Carjackers run after chase crash

Edward C. Fennell/staff Blake Kafka, 19, of Summerville checks out his 2003 Infiniti on Monday after it was wrecked by a pair of carjackers.

SUMMERVILLE — A trip to the library turned into a moment of terror and an afternoon of disappointment on Monday for a Summerville man.

Blake Kafka, 19, lost his 2003 Infiniti to a pair of carjackers, who crashed the car into another vehicle while being pursued by police. The suspects ran away following the crash on Rose Lane, near Ashley Drive, shocking neighborhood residents and causing schools to go on lockdown.

A man driving the vehicle struck by the speeding Infiniti was slightly injured, Summerville police Capt. Jon Rogers said.

Late Monday, police conducted a massive manhunt and were questioning someone but had made no charges, Rogers said.

He said the carjacking took place about 1 p.m., and police were told the suspects were both black men wearing black shorts and black shirts. At least one was armed, he said.

Kafka said he had just walked from the library and was sitting in his car when a stranger approached.

“A man knocked on my window, and when I rolled it down, he put a gun to my chest — with his finger on the trigger — and tells me to get out,” Kafka recalled.

“I’ve lived here 16 years and never seen anything like this,” he added.

Kafka said he told the man he had no money when the gunman asked for it. The gunman and another man jumped in the Infiniti and raced off, while a witness standing “about 10 feet away” began dialing 911.

Kafka said he saw a Dorchester County sheriff’s car parked outside a nearby restaurant, and ran inside to find the deputy. The deputy quickly radioed descriptions of the carjacked vehicle and suspects, Kafka said.

Law enforcement officers sighted the car on nearby Miles Jamison Road, and a pursuit began. On Rose Lane, near Ashley Drive, the Infiniti struck another vehicle, badly damaging both cars.

Kafka believes his Infiniti must have been traveling at least 60 mph when it crashed, because the air bags deploy only at that or greater speed.

Police set up a perimeter, and kept watch in the neighborhood and all along the Sawmill Branch Walk/Bike Trail. An Ashley Drive resident showed police to her backyard, where the fleeing suspects may have dropped a jacket, shirt and cellphone beside a fence. Police bagged and took away the items.

The events stunned some in the neighborhood. “I was just so terrified for my kids,” said a woman who did not want her name published. She said she has two children and a niece at nearby Spann Elementary School, and called the school to alert them of the police chase.

Area schools reportedly remained on lockdown for hours after the manhunt began.

The Ashley Drive woman said that when she heard the crash, she looked outside and saw the badly damaged Infiniti. She caught a glimpse of a figure running from the wreck.

She said there was no need to call police. “There was a cop car there, and I thought, ‘It’s too fast for the cops to be here,’?” she said. She realized police must have been chasing the car that crashed.

“About 15 minutes later, there were 15 cops here,” she said.

She said police met an arriving school bus, and escorted very young passengers to their homes. “I commend the police. I felt safe and was happy to see that we are well-protected,” she added.