A suspect who was eventually charged on drug possession accusations led Sumter County deputies on a high-speed chase on Thursday through multiple residential streets behind Sumter High School.
Conner Dane Mitchum, 23, has been charged with possession of methamphetamine after the initial incident began when he avoided a traffic stop on South Guignard Drive about 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, according to an incident report from the Sumter County Sheriff's Office.
In the report, the responding deputy said he saw a blue 2009 Ford Focus, driven by Mitchum, following closely behind a 2016 Jeep Compass on South Guignard Drive headed toward the bridge and realized the Ford was touching the rear of the Jeep while traveling at a high rate of speed.
The vehicles separated by the time they reached the top of the bridge, and the deputy attempted to initiate a traffic stop on the Focus, but Mitchum turned off the headlights and continued to drive.
He turned left down McCrays Mill Road and almost struck another vehicle while turning left onto Lewis Road, according to the report.
The deputy continued to chase Mitchum as he drove down residential streets, returning multiple times to McCrays Mill Road, until the deputy lost sight of the car when it turned onto Bay Springs Drive off of McCrays Mill Road.
Another deputy located the Focus some time later on Kolb Road and began chasing the vehicle when Mitchum failed to pull over for another traffic stop.
The vehicle later struck a stop sign at Green View Parkway and U.S. 15 South and hit a ditch while attempting to stop in the driveway of a residence on Bethel Church Road near the recycling center.
Mitchum attempted to flee the area on foot but was captured by another deputy after a brief chase.
The reporting deputy wrote that Mitchum appeared to have dropped a silver firearm — which was later recovered near the driver's side of the Ford Focus — while fleeing on foot.
Approximately .01 grams of suspected methamphetamine was found in the center console of the car.
After Mitchum was apprehended, investigators spoke with a woman who was riding with him at the beginning of the incident. Mitchum let the woman and her three children — ages 1,4 and 5 — out of the vehicle on Shoreland Drive, about four and a half miles away from where the vehicle chase ended.
The woman said the incident with the Jeep began while Mitchum was giving her and her children a ride home that evening.
She said Mitchum stopped at a fast food restaurant on U.S. 15 South to let her make a phone call and that she saw him get out of the Ford Focus and approach the Jeep, which quickly drove away. A warrant states the driver of the Jeep has a restraining order against Mitchum.
The passenger of the Ford Focus told investigators that she and Mitchum got back into the car and followed the Jeep and allegedly pulled out a silver handgun and fired multiple shots at the other vehicle, according to the report.
The woman told deputies she asked Mitchum to stop shooting and later asked him to stop the car when law enforcement showed up because her children were in the back seat.
The driver of the Jeep did not mention hearing gun shots when speaking with investigators, according to the report.
Mitchum is prohibited from possessing a firearm, and a check with DMV revealed he does not have a driver's license.
Mitchum is charged with possession of less that 1 gram of methamphetamine, driving under the influence, possession of a weapon by a felon, unlawful neglect of a child, failure to stop for a blue light, driving without a license and violation of a restraining order.
A South Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper also charged Mitchum for driving under the influence.
He was transported to Sumter-Lee Regional Detention Center where he awaits a bond hearing.
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