Crime & Courts

Georgia man threw 13-year-old girl he met online out of car during chase, SC cops say

A Georgia man is facing a number of charges following a chase with Richland County Sheriff’s deputies.
A Georgia man is facing a number of charges following a chase with Richland County Sheriff’s deputies. Getty Images/iStockphoto

A Georgia man is facing a number of charges following a high-speed chase when he was found half naked after throwing a 13-year-old girl out of the vehicle, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department said.

The chase took place early Sunday morning, when deputies saw a vehicle parked at a vacant business in the 4700 block of Alpine Road, the sheriff’s department said in a news release. That’s near Blue Cross & Blue Shield of South Carolina.

It was just before 3 a.m. when a man, later identified as Derek Jerome Nelson, climbed from the back, where he was with another person, and into the driver’s seat and drove away when a deputy approached the vehicle and turned on his lights, according to the news release.

At least twice during the chase, “the suspect vehicle braked hard and drove off the road,” and the deputy in pursuit saw what he thought were “parts of the vehicle flying in the air during the stops,” the sheriff’s department said.

When he finally stopped, the 30-year-old Augusta resident was only wearing a T-shirt when he approached the deputy, and had to be told several times to return to his car, according to the news release.

Nelson said he was “hooking up” with a girl he met on the internet, was startled by the deputy and the girl jumped out of the vehicle during the chase, the sheriff’s department said.

Other deputies discovered the girl, who was a 13-year-old suffering injuries to her hands, arms and legs; telling deputies she was “thrown from the car” by her boyfriend, according to the news release. The minor was taken to an area hospital for treatment.

Investigators said Nelson came to Columbia to meet someone he connected with on an online dating site. That was the teen, who called Nelson “her 30-year-old boyfriend,” the sheriff’s department said.

Nelson told investigators that he thought the girl was 18, but a message he sent her showed he called the girl “my 13-year-old doll,” according to the news release.

Nelson was taken to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center, where he was charged with criminal sexual conduct, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, sexual exploitation of a minor, solicitation to commit a felony, dissemination of obscene material to a person under 18 and failure to stop for blue lights, according to the news release.

Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.
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