Three people charged in the theft of police weapons and vests from patrol cars at a Columbia hotel led troopers on a high-speed chase on Interstate 77 and rammed two patrol cars, according to the S.C. Highway Patrol.
A trooper patrolling I-77 in Chester County around 6:30 a.m. Friday saw a Chrysler 300 traveling at 91 mph in a 70 mph zone, according to Sgt. Bob Beres of the Highway Patrol. The trooper initiated a traffic stop near mile marker 68 but the vehicle fled, prompting a pursuit up I-77.
Troopers set up a “roaming road block” near mile marker 77, where the suspects’ vehicle stopped but then then rammed two patrol cars, Beres said. The officers used their batons to break the windows on the Chrysler and removed three suspects, all of whom were placed in the Chester County Detention Center.
The driver, Elontrae Ali Glenn, 23, was charged with failure to stop for blue lights and siren, Beres said. He has additional charges of unlawful carrying of a pistol, sale or delivery of a pistol to unlawful persons and receiving stolen goods, according to jail records.
Morgan Nicole Fowler, 20, is charged with unlawful carrying of a pistol, sale or delivery of a pistol to certain persons unlawful and receiving stolen goods, according to jail records. A second passenger, Santario Demarcus Washington, 25, is jailed on the same charges as Fowler.
All three suspects are from Charlotte, Beres said. It was not immediately clear if the suspects will face charges in the car break-ins and thefts.
Inside the car, troopers found nine handguns and two bullet-proof vests that were reported stolen in Columbia along with “other stolen items,” Beres said. The Highway Patrol is working with Columbia police to recover all the stolen items.
Columbia police said Sunday that several patrol cars were among a rash of car break-ins reported at three Columbia hotels Friday morning. There was no word on how many patrol cars were affected, but Columbia police spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons said the agencies whose vehicles were victimized included the sheriff’s offices in Beaufort, Lee, Marlboro and Colleton counties.
One of the hotels involved, the Embassy Suites on Stoneridge Drive, was hosting the S.C. Sheriffs’ Association’s Medal of Valor award ceremony Thursday night.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.