Coroner identifies driver who crashed through a fence, into a pond during chase in Florence County

Pee Dee

FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. – A man has died after driving at least 90 miles per hour through Florence County, activating a chase with a sheriff’s deputy and then crashing into a pond, according to authorities. 

A Toyota Camry was traveling east on Alligator Road at 3:17 a.m. Thursday morning at about 90 mph when a Florence County Sheriff’s Office deputy passed traveling in the opposite direction. 

The deputy turned around to go after the car and the car turned north on to South Irby Street. The deputy activated the blue lights and siren in an attempt to stop the Camry. The driver, later identified as Carlos Douglas, 38, then turned right on Freedom Boulevard.

At one point, Douglas appeared to stop, the deputy said, but then sped away at a high rate of speed toward Pamplico Highway. The deputy backed off from the pursuit as the driver approached the light at the intersection of Freedom Boulevard and Pamplico Highway. 

Shortly after passing through the intersection, the Camry left the roadway, ran through a fence surrounding a retention pond, and submerged. 

Deputies attempted to reach the vehicle, but were unable to do so. Units from the Florence County EMS and the City of Florence Fire Department arrived on scene shortly after to recover anyone in the submerged vehicle. 

Douglas did not survive the incident. He was pronounced dead by Coroner Keith Von Lutcken.

There was no contact between the FCSO vehicle and the suspect vehicle, according to the sheriff’s office. No other injuries were reported.

Karen Dawkins, owner of Sweet Tooth Bakery, had just shown up to work when she saw the scene across the parking lot from her business. She watched crews remove the car from the pond.

“It was messed up,” Dawkins said. “Crunched in from both sides and when they pulled it out, there was debris from the trees in it.”

She said she was relieved to see that there was no collateral damage.

“Somebody going ninety miles an hour through here,” Dawkins said. “I’m just thankful that it happened when it did because I have eleven grandchildren going back and forth to school.”

The Florence County Coroner’s Office and the South Carolina Highway Patrol MAIT team are investigating.

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