Driver speeds from police, crashes into house, flees on foot

cwinston@thestate.comOctober 23, 2013 

— Law enforcement officers are searching for a man who sped from a safety checkpoint and then crashed into a house, setting both the vehicle and home on fire, before fleeing on foot.

Lance Cpl. Bill Rhyne with the S.C. Highway Patrol said late Wednesday that an unidentified man was stopped at a safety checkpoint in the Olympia neighborhood when authorities realize he did not have a valid license. He sped from the checkpoint, and was chased for a short time until a supervisor called it off.

A few minutes later, Columbia Police alerted the SCHP that the vehicle had been located — after crashing into a house at 1601 Rice St., at the corner of South Pickens Street and next to DiPrato’s Delicatessen. The location is about two blocks from the University of South Carolina campus, in the Wheeler Hill neighborhood.

The crash ignited the vehicle and the home into flames. No one was injured as the students who live in the home were not present.

The driver, meanwhile, set off from the crash on foot.

Witnesses say a man drove the vehicle down Pickens Street before turning and crashing into the house.

Tyler Rohaley, a USC student on his way home from ROTC, was standing outside DiPrato’s when he heard the screeching tires and brakes of a vehicle quickly moving but trying to stop. He saw the car crash into the house and the driver jump out and run.

Rohaley said he first checked to make sure no one was hurt, and then he took off after the driver. Later, at least one dog was used in the chase.

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