Man fleeing troopers totals Bluffton family's vehicles

rlurye@islandpacket.comNovember 20, 2013 

Robert and Kim Jettie provided this photograph of their vehicles, destroyed Nov. 16, 2013, by a car driven by a man pursued by SC Highway Patrol troopers on US 278.

SUBMITTED PHOTO

Kim and Robert Jettie of Bluffton woke shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday to what sounded like an explosion.

It turned out to be a driver fleeing from the S.C. Highway Patrol who smashed into their business van and son's car parked in the Plantation Point community.

Afterward, the driver jumped out of his car and ran.

"Then it was kind of chaos," Robert Jettie, 50, said.

For the next three hours, emergency vehicles, K9 teams and investigators saturated the private Bluffton neighborhood.

Authorities say that Titus Glenn Singleton, 25, of Beaufort was stopped by the Highway Patrol at about 1 a.m. near Pennington Drive, but then punched the gas, crossed the median of U.S. 278 and drove into Plantation Point.

He crashed into the Jetties' vehicles, totaling them and his own car.

Singleton evaded arrest even though officers surrounded the area and brought in a K9 team, according to an incident report.

"It's a little disappointing right off the bat, because he ran away," Robert Jettie said. "How does he get away?"

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Highway Patrol still had not arrested Singleton. Attempts Wednesday to reach troopers for more information were unsuccessful.

A Bluffton police report accuses Singleton of leaving behind 15 grams of heroin, 63 grams of marijuana, cash and a stolen .40-caliber Glock pistol in his car.

Also left behind at Plantation Point were the Jetties, shocked to find themselves not only out of a car and commercial van, but a business.

While Robert Jettie, owner of Chem-Dry Carpet Cleaning in Beaufort County, has rented another van to carry out his service, he has to find a new vehicle and install equipment that is still bolted to his damaged van. Despite scouring the area for vans, he hasn't found anything he can afford with about $3,500 from insurance."It's not good with the holidays coming," Kim Jettie said.

Saturday's incident was not the first time people have crashed into the Jetties' parked cars -- it's happened five times in the past three years.

In the first instance, a drunken driver struck Kim Jettie's car, causing $13,000 worth of damage, she said. A year later, a woman totaled her son's vehicle in a restaurant parking lot on Hilton Head Island.

She didn't expect the family's vehicles to be in jeopardy outside their own home. In fact, the family doesn't usually park in the exact spots they did Friday night, Kim Jettie said.

Her son's car, which had $7,000 in damage, is usually in Spartanburg at the University of South Carolina Upstate. However, the 20-year-old military reserve member was home for a monthly training weekend in Savannah and a military ball.

"This is not his best week," Kim Jettie said. "I guess you have to laugh about it because otherwise you'd have to cry."

The way Robert Jettie sees things, though, some bad luck is to be expected -- until three years ago, the family went two decades with no damage to their vehicles.

"I think it just catches up to you sooner or later, no matter what," he said.

Follow reporter Rebecca Lurye on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Rebecca.

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