Police chase ends in crash near Hilton Head schools, causing lockdown, report says

Hilton Head Island Middle and High Schools went into modified lockdown Friday morning after a driver attempting to avoid deputies drove into a ditch on Wilborn Road near the Hilton Head Island school complex at 8:35 a.m., according to a news release by the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.

“Following a report of reckless driving this morning on Hilton Head Island, Sheriff’s Office deputies attempted a traffic stop on the vehicle on U.S. 278,” the sheriff’s office wrote. “The driver of the vehicle did not stop, and, after attempting to elude deputies on several side roads, ended up driving into a ditch on Wilborn Road.”

There was one passenger, and no students were involved. Both passenger and driver are being investigated for injuries.

In a modified lockdown, the school day continues as normal, but class changes are halted and all students are brought inside, district spokesman Jim Foster said Friday. The high school’s lockdown lasted less than a minute.

There have now been four Beaufort County school lockdowns in the last two weeks.

Students at Battery Creek High School were participating in a school lockdown drill Thursday when police received a call claiming that a student at the school might have a gun, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Thursday afternoon.

However, there was no threat to school safety, police said.

“Deputies were able to determine that the call to dispatch resulted from a joke that a male student made that he had a firearm,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a news release. “That student was identified, located and it was determined that he did not have a firearm on school property.”

On Oct. 23, May River High School in Bluffton was placed under full lockdown after police received a similar threat about a possible gun. Investigators determined that threat to be based on a rumor.

But first, the rumor sent kids running out of the building in fear and prompted parents to drive to the school after seeing comments on social media about an active shooter.

A post about the May River lockdown in the 20,000-plus member Facebook group “Bluffton/Hilton Head Ask and Answer (original)“ garnered more than 230 comments, with some suggesting that there was an active shooter at the school.

This story will be updated.

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Rachel Jones covers education for the Island Packet and the Beaufort Gazette. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has worked for the Daily Tar Heel and Charlotte Observer. Rachel grew up in Ayden, NC, surrounded by teachers.