Crime & Public Safety

SC woman arrested after crashing into deputy’s car during police chase

Here’s how Beaufort County police decide when to start — and stop — high speed chases

The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office and Bluffton Police Department follow a detailed set of rules regarding police pursuits. These rules determine when officers should start — and terminate — high speed chases.
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The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office and Bluffton Police Department follow a detailed set of rules regarding police pursuits. These rules determine when officers should start — and terminate — high speed chases.

An Orangeburg County woman was arrested on July 16 after she led police on a pursuit and told an accomplice on a motorcycle to shoot at the deputies during the chase, according to a news release from the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office.

Rachael Ashley Rountree, 27, faces at least eight charges in the incident, including possession of a stolen vehicle; simple possession of marijuana; possession of a stolen pistol; unlawful carrying of a pistol; second-offense driving under suspension; possession of a Schedule-II narcotic; possession of methamphetamine; and failure to stop for blue lights and siren.

Deputies with the Sheriff’s Office tried to initiate a traffic stop on a car stolen from Hardeeville, which Roundtree was driving, when she led them on a pursuit into Hampton County, the release said. A call to the Sheriff’s Office about the pursuit was not immediately returned Tuesday.

During the chase, Roundtree had a “male accomplice ... fire gunshots at the pursuing deputies,” the release said.

Roundtree eventually struck a deputy’s vehicle and then was immediately stopped by another deputy and taken into custody with no injuries.

She was booked into the Jasper County Detention Center at 2:35 a.m. on July 17 and remained incarcerated as of Tuesday afternoon on a total cash bail of $27,000, according to the jail log.

The next day, the male suspect, who was not named in the release, was arrested by Varnville Police and the S.C. Law Enforcement Division, according to the release.

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Lana Ferguson has covered crime, police, and other news for The Island Packet & Beaufort Gazette since June 2018. Before coming to the Lowcountry, she worked for publications in her home state of Virginia and graduated from the University of Mississippi, where she was editor of the college’s daily newspaper.
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