North Charleston police say a man accused of stealing a car early Monday decided to test his luck with the alligators in the Goose Creek Reservoir rather than face a judge.
The man escaped the gators but not the law. North Charleston police say they found him about four hours later in a wooded area near the reservoir.
Police arrested and charged Kevin Michael Hartley, 22, of Goose Creek with theft of a motor vehicle and failure to stop for blue lights. They also charged three others who were in the car, including a 37-year-old Summerville woman accused of leaving her 7-month-old child alone in a motel as the incident played out.
The incident began when officers responded to a call at 1:30 a.m. of a 1995 Chevrolet Lumina stolen from Hampton Oaks Apartments on Rivers Avenue, according to Spencer Pryor, police public information officer. Officers saw the car on Rivers Avenue near Tipton Street and attempted to pull over the vehicle.
The vehicle kept going and turned into the Eagle Landing subdivision in Hanahan. The vehicle came to a stop at the dead end of North Basilica Avenue and the driver ran behind a house and into the reservoir, Pryor said.
Officers saw the man swimming in the distance but eventually lost sight of him. Authorities, including a State Law Enforcement Division helicopter, searched for the man.
Pryor said the man was found about 5:30 a.m. in a wooded area at the reservoir.
Three people who were in the car but surrendered to police also face charges.
Catherine Evans, 37, of Summerville is charged with child neglect. Police say Evans told them she left her 7-month-old baby alone inside a Saul White Boulevard motel.
John Harley, 27, and Darrell Morton, 22, both of North Charleston, and Evans are charged with hindering a police investigation.
They were expected to appear before a bond judge late Monday or early today, Pryor said.