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Summerville Man Chases Down Two Allegedly Smashing Cars

Summerville man pursues suspected criminals 35 miles from Azalea Square to Holly Hill, aiding law enforcement in their capture.

Vandalism, burglaries and vehicle break-ins happen often in Summerville — and sometimes the perpetrators get away with it.

But in the early morning hours Sunday, one Summerville man was determined to not let the suspected perpetrators of late-night vehicle break-ins elude justice. He chased down two men on a 35-mile pursuit before law enforcement caught up with them and made the arrests. 

The incident was first reported by Patch blogger Maryann Ferrara.

Patrick (last name withheld at his request) was picking up his wife, Michelle, at her place of work at Azalea Square when he interrupted two suspects allegedly smashing windows of parked vehicles and taking items. The vehicles near Michelle's work had already been broken into when he arrived.

Leaving his wife behind, Patrick drove his truck over to where they heard the breaking of glass. As he approached, a silver car took off, and Patrick pursued.

"When they took off, my plan was to follow them until the police caught up," Patrick said. "I thought they would get them on 17-A. I didn't think it would take forever."

It would take an hour before he saw any law enforcement officers. 

The vehicle sped down 17-A, jumped onto I-26 toward Columbia and reached speeds in excess of 100 mph, Patrick said. But, at the next exit of Jedburg Road, the vehicle turned off toward Moncks Corner. Patrick continued to follow them — at this point, he was on the phone with law enforcement as he traveled through four jurisdictions. 

He remembered thinking: "I ain't losing these guys, there ain't no way." 

Patrick said his determination was rooted in the three break-ins his family has experienced at their Summerville home — break-ins where the perpetrators were never caught. 

As Patrick followed the vehicle onto 176 toward Holly Hill, he continued to implore law enforcement to come to his aid.

"I kept asking, 'You do have people coming, right?'" Patrick said. 

But it wasn't until the two vehicles reached Holly Hill that Patrick finally spotted an officer of the law: a Holly Hill marked patrol car. As the patrol car passed them going the opposite direction, Patrick flashed his lights. The patrol car turned around to follow and Patrick pulled over to let the officer do his job. 

Patrick said the suspects stopped for the police officer and were arrested. In their possession were two duffel bags full of allegedly stolen goods, Patrick said. Patrick and his wife agree: without him taking off after the suspects, they might have gotten away with it.

"I saw these ladies' hearts broken and I saw (the suspects) take off and it was my nature to take off after them," Patrick said. "I know they wouldn't have been caught."

To keep Patrick humble, Michelle said, "You're not super hero status just yet."

"I didn't do it for the super hero status," he said. 

Want to read more about Summerville citizens aiding law enforcement? Check out these articles:

  • Citizen gives deputy lift to nab suspect
  • Father and son make citizen arrest on tresspassers 
RyanH November 14, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Give that guy a key to the city. Seriously.
Gretchen November 14, 2012 at 01:26 PM
This man is a HERO ... and the POLICE should be ashamed that it took so long to get him some help. I realize there is a problem with jurisdiction ... but... come on. Put jurisdiction aside for once. When the culprits are caught you can GIVE THEM to the RIGHT JURISDICTION !
Linda November 14, 2012 at 02:19 PM
I would really like to know why local police did not respond. Was it not important enough? Please interview local authorities and find out why. Kudos to Patrick!
Patrick_E November 14, 2012 at 03:08 PM
A few things to clarify. I'm not sure if Jurisdiction played a part in it. Dispatchers handed me off to each county as I entered it. I did ask Berkley county if anyone was coming and they said officers were en route, but they could have been far away, who knows. Holly hill was listening in/dispatched and intercepted us. Orangeburg county was a few minutes later. The actual chase took probably 30-40 minutes, I was basically counting from when I got there to pick up my wife. I mistakenly told Lindsay it was an hour chase. I am not happy the police for making me sit for almost 2 hours while they did everything else and then took my statement last. Could have done that first and let me go. Maybe they had to do everything and then see if there were any questions, I don't know but it was 4am before I got home. Did I mention one of the guys was out of Bond?
KB November 14, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Thank You Patrick for what you did! Not many people these days would have done that and you should be commended!!! Unfortunately, I don't see the problem with offenders under bond slowing down until Judges can be held accountable. How many times do we read about people being arrested while out on bond. It really ticks me off when someone is out on bond for a murder charge or other serious violent offense. WHY are they out running around?
Michelle November 14, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Also to add....Summerville police were on scene with victims in Azalea Square pretty quickly. Several officers were working our area, as well as, others in the plaza.
maryann s. ferrara November 14, 2012 at 07:25 PM
AMEN!!!
maryann s. ferrara November 14, 2012 at 07:49 PM
I think we need to realize that we don't know all the laws governing jurisdiction and how these laws encumber the police effort. As much as we would like them to be able to 'just put jurisdiction aside.' And I am not sure how violating those laws (as ridiculous as we may think they are) might affect the outcome of the penalty to these two men. I did erroneously believe that Patrick was assisted the whole way by the police in the chase. Patrick, THANK YOU for your outstanding work! But also I thank the police involved.... Who are encumbered with police reports and rules we don't even know about. They also stayed with the victims that night...and helped with details. They also returned stolen merchandise. Goes to show you that we all play a part in keeping each other safe. We cannot hide our heads in the sand and wait for someone else to step up. "The only thing that evil needs to succeed is for good people to do nothing." Instead of pointing fingers, hopefully our police can get the public support they need to be able to keep our homes and families safe. By this I ALSO mean more police staff for our rapidly expanding community and better pay.
Daniel November 14, 2012 at 08:15 PM
I work with Patrick. He is a good guy and this seems like it would be in his nature. Great Job.
George Milligan November 18, 2012 at 04:44 AM
Thank you, Sir, for doing the job that our paid officials refuse to do. The only risk they had in being caught by Berkley County deputies was if they happened to stop at the Kangaroo while fleeing. My family as well was burgularized a while back. Not a single minute has been lost by our department trying to find the perpetrators.

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