Cops: Man driving under suspension leads deputies on 100 mph chase

COLLETON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The sheriff's office says a 49-year-old man with a suspended license led deputies on a 100 mph chase that started in Dorchester County and ended in Colleton County when the suspect crashed into a ditch and struck a tree.

The Dorchester County Sheriff's Office charged Francis Rapagna with resisting arrest, failure to stop for blue light and habitual offender.

On Monday afternoon, a deputy was on patrol in the area of Highway 17-A near Dorchester Road when he recognized Rapagna, who was wanted on outstanding warrants, standing next to an SUV at a BP gas station.

The deputy then followed Rapagna who left the gas station in his SUV. Authorities say the deputy recognized the SUV as the same vehicle that failed to stop for a traffic stop a few weeks ago.

An incident report states when the deputy turned his emergency lights to pull the SUV over, the vehicle accelerated and a pursuit began.

According to investigators, the suspect's vehicle reached speeds of 100 mph during the chase on Highway 17-A and continued into Colleton County where the driver refused to pull over.

Deputies say Rapagna eventually lost control of the SUV which entered a ditch and struck a tree in the area of McDaniel Town Road. The sheriff's office says Rapagna got out of the SUV and took off in nearby woods.

K-9 teams from Colleton and Dorchester counties responded and a search was conducted. Investigators then received a tip and located Rapagna walking down McDaniel Town Road.

Rapagna said he was running from police because of warrants and said he knew what he was doing was wrong.

According to police, Rapagna has three outstanding bench warrants for failure to stop for blue light, receiving stolen goods and driving under suspension third-offense.

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