James Island -- A suspected drunken driver fleeing police swerved to miss a deputy's spike strips and slammed into the back of a pickup truck Friday afternoon, causing a five-vehicle pileup, authorities said.

Three people, including the suspect, Timothy Braddock of Hollywood, were rushed to Medical University Hospital as firefighters extinguished an engine fire inside the 1988 Chevy S-10 pickup Braddock was driving, said Maj. John Clark of the Charleston County Sheriff's Office. Braddock suffered serious injuries, Clark said. The other two drivers were transported with less- serious injuries.

Authorities say the chase started just before 1:45 p.m. near the Washout on Folly Beach.

Folly Beach Public Safety Chief Terry Boatwright said his officers and a Charleston County sheriff's deputy attempted to stop the pickup after it nearly struck a Charleston County EMS ambulance. The suspect also was seen tossing some kind of alcoholic beverage from the vehicle, Boatwright said.

The chase continued onto Folly Road, at some points reaching speeds as high as 70 mph, according to Boatwright.

Several witnesses who were stopped in traffic in front of the American Legion on Folly Road said a deputy attempted to puncture the vehicle's tires with spike strips.

"He threw them down, and the suspect avoided the strips and rear-ended that Sierra over there," said Erin Joseph of Greenville. "It pushed the Sierra up onto two wheels and flew right over the front of our truck."

The Sierra landed in the parking lot of the American Legion. The driver was taken to the hospital, as was the driver of a green vehicle.

Larry Baldwin said his Ford Explorer and trailer were halfway into Folly Road and halfway in the American Legion parking lot behind stopped traffic when he saw the red pickup truck slam into the back of the GMC Sierra.

"When I saw that truck fly up into the air and him coming towards me, traffic had just started moving ... but I couldn't get out of the way," Baldwin said.

The pickup ignited into flames as it came to rest between Baldwin's vehicle and a trailer hauling landscaping supplies, Baldwin said.

The S.C. Highway Patrol is investigating the crash. Clark said Braddock would be charged with second-offense driving under the influence and failure to stop for blue lights and sirens. Clark said those charges would be filed by the Highway Patrol.

David W. MacDougall contributed to this report. Reach Andy Paras at 937-5589.