Deputies: Man wanted after chase, crash with deputy found - FOX Carolina 21

Deputies: Man wanted after chase, crash with deputy found barefoot

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Curtis Justin Bearden (Source: Oconee Co. Sheriff's Office) Curtis Justin Bearden (Source: Oconee Co. Sheriff's Office)
SENECA, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Deputies said they have found a wanted man after he stole a car, fled from Oconee County deputies then crashed into a deputy's car before fleeing on foot Thursday morning.

It all started when a silver 1996 Chevy Geo Tracker was stolen from a home on Burnt Tanyard Road in West Union just before 10 p.m. Wednesday, according to deputies. According to the incident report, the suspect took the soft-topped vehicle without permission and was able to drive off with it because it has a toggle switch instead of a key-controlled ignition.

Then about 5:30 a.m., an officer spotted the stolen car on Highway 28 going towards Seneca, deputies said.

Public Information Officer Jimmy Watt said the deputy tried to stop the car, but the driver sped off and a chase began. He said the high-speed chase went along Memorial Drive onto North Radio Station Road and then onto Wells Highway, then continued along South Radio Station Road to Radisson Road before ending on Dave Nix Road.

The chase reached speeds of 80 mph, Watt said.

When the driver tried to turn onto Sam Brown Road, he lost control, Watt said. He said both the driver and deputy chasing him went off the road at the intersection.

The suspect's car turned around, crashing into the deputy's patrol car then hit it a second time on the driver's side, according to Watt.

Then the driver bailed, taking off running on foot, deputies said. Watt said the deputy ran after him but could not catch him and waited for backups to arrive. He said the deputy was not injured in the crash.

The deputy recognized the driver as Curtis Justin Bearden, which was confirmed when they found his ID in the car, Watt said.

Just before noon, deputies said they received a call about a suspicious person with a shaved head, barefoot, wearing a black tank top and dark pants near Highway 59. Deputies did not find the man in that area but stayed on patrol and spotted Bearden in the area of Sitton Shoals Road and Sleepy Hollow Drive a few minutes later, Watt said.

Bearden, 27, was already wanted in connection with the Feb. 11 charge of use of a vehicle without the owner's consent and an outstanding bench warrant from Jan. 28 on a driving under suspension charge, Watt said. He said additional charges will be sought in connection with the vehicle theft and chase.

On Friday, deputies said Bearden was charged with petit larceny, possession of a stolen vehicle, failure to stop for a blue light, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, unlawful carrying of a pistol, possession of a weapon during commission of a violent crime, malicious injury to a tree, driving under suspension, and possession of methamphetamine.

Deputies said they found the gun inside the stolen car he crashed and found the drugs on him when he was arrested. The malicious injury charge stemmed from the damage done to the stolen car when Bearden crashed into a poplar tree during the chase, deputies said.

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