BEAUFORT, S.C. (WCSC) - The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office says four of its deputies spent two days under quarantine believing they had possibly been exposed to COVID-19 during an arrest on St. Helena Island.
The arrest involved one of two vehicles reported stolen April 21 from Lady’s Island.
The incident began Tuesday morning when deputies spotted a brown Honda Civic traveling on Sea Island Parkway toward St. Helena Island near the Chowan Creek Bridge. The vehicle matched the description of one of the stolen vehicles.
Deputies say they received confirmation through the NCIC that the Honda Civic was in fact one of the two stolen vehicles from Lady’s Island. When they attempted a traffic stop near the Tiger Express on Sea Island Parkway, they say the driver sped away, prompting a chase for few miles.
Deputies say the drier lost control and the vehicle struck a tree at the intersection of Sea Island Parkway and Ball Park Road. They say the the driver ran away on foot.
During the chase they say they saw an object fall from his clothing. The object was later determined to be a handgun and the driver was eventually captured.
When EMS arrived on the scene, the driver told deputies he had possibly been exposed to COVID-19 through a person closely associated with him who had tested positive for the virus.
EMS crews took the man to the Beaufort Memorial Hospital, where he submitted to a test for COVID-19. On Thursday, results of the man’s test came back negative and the deputies were released from quarantine.
Deputies say the driver, whose identity they have not yet released, faces charges of possession of a stolen motor vehicle, resisting arrest, unlawful carrying of a handgun and possession of a firearm by a felon.
The same day the first driver was arrested, deputies who were again patrolling Sea Island Parkway spotted a white Mercedes GLK, matching the second vehicle stolen from Lady’s Island.
Deputies say the second driver likewise attempted to speed away from the attempted traffic stop and lost sight of the Mercedes. But after a search on Lady’s Island, deputies fond the vehicle on Faculty Drive and saw two males and one female, running from the vehicle toward a wooded area.
Those three were captured with the help of a K-9 unit, deputies say.
One of the men, who was identified as the driver of the stolen Mercedes, was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle, fleeing to evade arrest and failure to stop for blue lights. Based on his close association with the driver of the stolen Honda, he submitted to a test for COVID-19 at the Beaufort Memorial Hospital.
The other two occupants of the stolen Mercedes: male and female, were issued citations for fleeing to evade arrest and later released by deputies.
There were no significant exposures to COVID-19 for first responders during the recovery of the Mercedes or resulting arrests.