Shoplifting suspects involved in a failed getaway attempt that turned into a fatal wreck in Jasper County had more than $7,000 in stolen purses, the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office said Friday.
Investigators recovered 25 purses stolen Thursday afternoon from the Michael Kors store in the Tanger Outlets Center 1 in Bluffton, Sgt. Robin McIntosh said.
A car the four suspects were in collided with a pickup truck before slamming into a tree in Jasper County. A passenger in the car was killed, and a passenger in the truck was injured.
The incident began when deputies spotted a 2011 Toyota Camry at about 3 p.m. on S.C. 46 near the Jasper County line. The car, which was a rental, matched one seen leaving the outlet, where a Michael Kors clerk was assaulted when he tried to stop the suspects from leaving, McIntosh said.
When the suspects crossed into Jasper County, the driver accelerated, and deputies turned on their blue lights to pass other cars, McIntosh said. By the time deputies caught up with the Camry, it had crashed into a tree near the Pink Pig restaurant in Levy, she said.
Three suspects ran from the car, according to witnesses. Deputies later found them hiding in bushes near Roper Road and South Okatie Highway, McIntosh said.
All three have been arrested and were in custody Friday evening at the Jasper County Detention Center.
The fourth suspect, found dead in the car, was identified by the Jasper County coroner as 19-year-old Chante N. Anderson.
All four were from the Savannah area, McIntosh said, adding that Anderson waited in the car while the other three went into the store.
The Camry driver, Craig Scott, 22, was charged with reckless homicide by the S.C. Highway Patrol. He and two passengers were also charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death.
Scott, Jacob Edwards, 20, and Bernard Carter, 20, also face felony shoplifting charges in Beaufort County, McIntosh said. The store clerk declined to press assault charges, she said.
The Highway Patrol reported late Thursday night that one of the passengers was 16 and had been taken to the Department of Juvenile Justice in Columbia. That was corrected Friday after officials learned Carter gave a false name and date of birth, patrol Sgt. Bob Beres said.