Sumter suspects apprehended in Clarendon County on theft, damage to vehicle charges after failing to turn themselves in


What started as an apparent theft of a pair of sunglasses led to a miles-long police chase a county over and deputies deploying spike strips, ending in a $250,000 bond for two Sumter County residents.

Two Sumter County residents who were wanted on charges related to the theft of items from and damage to a vehicle have been apprehended after leading Clarendon deputies on a late-night chase.

Amanda Dawn Powell and Jesse McDonald Preast were wanted for reportedly stealing $200 worth of items from a vehicle and causing $1,265 worth of damage to the vehicle on May 5, according to Sumter County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Adrienne Sarvis. They were both supposed to turn themselves in voluntarily on May 10 but failed to do so.

Powell, 39, of Moise Drive, and Preast, 32, of Timmerman Street, were caught on May 21 in Clarendon County, Sarvis said.

A Sumter County investigator followed a tip from the public Tuesday that led him to find out that Powell and Preast were driving with a stolen license plate. Sarvis said the plate information was entered into the National Crime Information Center.

Clarendon County authorities spotted the vehicle a “short time after” the information was entered, and the suspects fled.

Clarendon County Sheriff Tim Baxley said the vehicle was spotted in Summerton with a Georgia license plate that had been reported stolen and that the driver sped off after being pulled over once the deputy exited his vehicle to conduct the traffic stop.

Deputies pursued the vehicle for several miles traveling toward Jordan Crossroads before having to deploy stinger spike strips, deflating two of the suspect vehicle’s tires, Baxley said. Deputies then pursued the vehicle onto Tobias Road near Greeleyville Highway, where two people fled on foot into a wooded area.

The Clarendon County K-9 tracking team responded to the scene, and deputies set up a perimeter, Baxley said, locating Powell and Preast a “very short time later.”

Preast was charged in Clarendon County with driving under suspension and failure to stop for a blue light.

Warrants for the original incident state Powell drove Preast to a location on Twelve Bridges Road on May 5, where Preast is accused of breaking a truck’s passenger window and stealing a pair of sunglasses and two electric paint rollers valued at more than $200. About $1,265 in damage was reportedly caused to the truck, the sheriff’s office Sarvis said.

They both have been charged with breaking into a motor vehicle and simple larceny, value of $2,000 or less.

A magistrate judge set bond at $250,000 for both suspects because “they are considered flight risks based on their recent attempts to avoid law enforcement.”