David W. MacDougall // The Post and Courier
A North Charleston police officer applies handcuffs Thursday to William Owens, one of two men arrested after a van that was believed to be stolen was chased from North Charleston to Johns Island.
Two men were arrested Thursday after police were led on 23-mile chase through North Charleston, West Ashley and Johns Island.
It started just before 2 p.m. when a North Charleston police officer, whose cruiser was equipped with an automated license plate recognition camera, got a hit on a stolen van, police spokesman Spencer Pryor said.
The officer tried to stop the van near Rivers and Cosgrove avenues, but the driver would not stop, instead leading police on a chase that went from Rivers to Montague Avenue to Interstate 26 eastbound, then to the Cosgrove exit, across the Northbridge, onto Sam Rittenberg Boulevard, south on Savannah Highway, and left onto Main Road.
Once on Johns Island, the van turned left onto River Road and was eventually stopped at River and Santa Elena Way, near the entrance to The Commons at Fenwick Plantation.
According to reports, the pursuit at times exceeded speeds of 90 mph. Pryor said it lasted about 20 minutes. The van was a 1999 Volkswagen Eurovan that had been reported stolen out of Charleston, Pryor said.
Officers from the Charleston Police Department were among those who responded as the chase wound its way through West Ashley, but they did not participate in the pursuit.
The Charleston County Sheriff's Office took over the pursuit at Sam Rittenberg Boulevard and Ashley River Road, Pryor said. A deputy took the lead position in the chase. Deputies deployed "Stop Stick" tire-deflation devices to puncture the van's tires, bringing the chase to an end. Two men jumped out of the van but were quickly apprehended.
There were no wrecks and no one was injured because of the chase, Pryor said.
The driver, William Joseph Owens, 21, of Johns Island, is charged with failure to stop for blue lights and possession of a stolen vehicle, Pryor said. His passenger, Thomas Dempsey, 27, also of Johns Island, is charged with possession of a stolen vehicle.
Both were being held in the Cannon Detention Center pending bond hearings.