A Summerville man is facing charges after authorities said he stole a Charleston Fire Department SUV and led several law enforcement agencies on a pursuit from Goose Creek to Charleston.
The scene unfolded Sunday morning, when an employee at Fire Station 13 on Folly Road on James Island received a call from his supervisor wondering why the station's SUV was spotted in Goose Creek.
The employee confirmed the Ford F250 was gone and called Charleston police at 10:15 a.m. He told an officer he'd left the SUV unlocked with the keys in the ignition. He recalled that a man had knocked on the front door of the fire station about an hour earlier and walked away when firefighters answered, according to an incident report.
A short time later, a Goose Creek police officer found the unoccupied SUV parked at Colonial Village apartments on Springhall Drive.
While waiting for Berkeley County sheriff's deputies, the officer observed a man — later identified as 33-year-old David Lee Lathan — get in the SUV and drive away.
A chase ensued into North Charleston, where police attempted several times to stop the vehicle using stop sticks. At one point, the vehicle began to smoke as a back tire separated from its rim.
Police said Lathan talked over the radio channel during the pursuit, saying he'd stolen the truck and was on his way to James Island to return it "unless somebody killed him," according to an incident report. A negotiator tried to reason with him.
With all four tires flat from stop sticks, officers eventually stopped the vehicle at King Street Extension and Mount Pleasant Street. Police said Lathan exited the SUV but didn't cooperate, so a North Charleston officer tackled him to the ground.
Berkeley County deputies transported Lathan to a hospital for a mental health check. Authorities said he tested positive for methamphetamine.
Fire department employees said they found wrappers for Suboxone, a prescription drug used to treat opiate addiction, on the floorboard of the SUV.
Lathan, of Susan Drive in Summerville, faces one count each of failure to stop for blue lights and receiving stolen goods over $10,000 in Berkeley County. His bail was set at $100,000.