Sheriff: Disoriented elderly man leads deputies on slow pursuit

KERSHAW COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Kershaw County Sheriff James Matthews says deputies caught up with an elderly man who drove seven miles on Interstate 20 before stopping.

Matthews says Thursday night, 911 dispatchers received a call about a reckless driver without lights on I-20 near exit 101 as deputies conducted an arrest nearby. Matthews says the driver nearly crashed into deputies at the arrest scene. As deputies jumped out of the way, one noticed the driver was an elderly man.

A deputy took off after the man, who continued to drive for seven miles into Lee County. Matthews says it did not appear that the man was attempting to flee the officer, even though sirens and blue lights were activated. Speeds were about 60 miles per hour.

The man eventually stopped after another deputy got in front of his vehicle and boxed it in.

Deputies found the 92-year-old man "who was extremely disoriented," Matthews said. His vehicle had some damage on the front end that appeared to have occurred from hitting traffic cones.

Deputies learned that the elderly man had left an assisted living facility where he lived. He had just purchased the vehicle he was driving. He provided deputies with contact information for his family members who were called and came to the scene.

The man was not charged and he was released to those family members.

"I monitored this entire incident on the radio and must commend my deputies for handling this situation in a professional and compassionate manner," Matthews said. "This situation could have resulted in a very serious accident. The deputies got him stopped and out of harm's way without anyone getting hurt.  We like good outcomes and this was a good one."

"I sure hope that whoever is the ultimate caretaker of this gentleman makes sure he doesn't get behind the wheel of a vehicle again," he said.

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