(WIS) - From the final third of March to April 5, law enforcement officials experienced six high-speed chases resulting in six fatalities in that 17-day span.
The most recent high-speed chase claimed the lives of three teenagers when the driver led Irmo police on a chase before losing control and striking a tree on April 5. None of the occupants were wearing a seatbelt.
"It is very unusual for us to see fatalities following the chase," Maria Yturria, with Richland County Sheriffs Department, said at the time. "I would say that the last one we had in Richland County has been several years."
One of the more recent reports of such an incident was in 2013, but now the unusual is becoming usual as more individuals are deciding to flee from police often at a high cost.
Three people in late March were fleeing police when they tried to drive through the fence separating the opposite directions of travel on Interstate 20, killing one of the persons they were with. That driver is now facing felony DUI involving death charges on top of the charges they were originally going to face.
In addition, The South Carolina Department of Public Safety reported that nine people were killed on South Carolina highways between April 6 and April 8 as part of a weekend report they conduct.
Of those nine people, three were pedestrians and one was a motorcyclist. The other 5 victims were wearing seatbelts, according to the report.
As of Sunday, 220 people have died on SC highways, which is lower than the same time period last year which had 264 highway deaths.
The following are the recent law enforcement pursuits:
- Tuesday, March 20: After leading Irmo police on a pursuit, two adults and a juvenile were taken into custody after crashing on Dreher Shoals Road. Three individuals fled on foot but were quickly detained. There were no fatalities, but everyone in the vehicle was treated for injuries.
- Monday, March 26: The aforementioned late March chase that ended in one person dead when they tried to intentionally drive through the fence separating the two sides of the highway. Two suspects were inside Lowe's on Two Notch Road and were accused of stealing items when they jumped into a vehicle operated by another suspect and drove off.
- Wednesday, March 28: A suspect who fled from police was shot by Lexington County deputies after a high-speed pursuit ended with negotiations as the man was inside the vehicle with a gun. Officials that were approaching the vehicle noticed quick movement in the vehicle and open fired on the suspect. Four deputies are on administrative leave as the shooting is still being investigated.
- Thursday, March 29: A 51-year-old man was ejected from the vehicle he was a passenger in when the driver fled from police and the vehicle overturned multiple times near the Farrow Road and Parklane Road intersection. The pursuing deputy's vehicle also became trapped under a utility pole, but the deputy was uninjured.
- Monday, April 2: Irmo police are still looking for the suspect in another pursuit who crashed a stolen vehicle into a ditch on Farming Creek Road before fleeing on foot. There were no fatalities in this crash.
- Thursday, April 5: Six unrestrained teenagers fled from Irmo police in excess of 80 miles per hour before the driver lost control and crashed on Piney Grove Road. The crash killed two 15-year-olds and one 13-year-old. "There are no winners here," Irmo Police Captain Courtney Dennis said.
- Thursday, April 12: A Richland County sheriff's deputy gives chase to a suspect that ends in a crash on Garners Ferry Road. There are injuries.