Dash camera videos released in stolen Georgetown County police car chase

troot@thesunnews.comApril 9, 2014 

— The dash camera videos involving a stolen Georgetown County deputy’s cruiser show the man who stole it running from police before he gets in the vehicle and leads them on a chase that lasted more than an hour last month, according to videos released Wednesday.

Camilo Quiroga-Diaz, 35, of Surfside Beach was charged with grand larceny with a value of $10,000 or more and failure to stop for a blue light, according to Georgetown County Detention Center records.

He is being held on $13,000 bond.

According to a Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office press release, deputies responded to the Waccamaw Community Hospital around 8:30 a.m. March 30 and learned that a patient at the hospital on mental commitment papers had walked away from the facility.

Witnesses told police the man had been seen walking down U.S. 17 Bypass in the Murrells Inlet area.

Deputies on patrol found Diaz near the intersection of S.C. 707 and attempted to take him into custody.

But the man ran and police chased him on foot.

The videos show a barefoot man, clad in a blue scrubs outfit, running along U.S. 17 Bypass and going across the highway several times through traffic, trying to elude the deputies.

The suspect outruns the deputies and video shows him passing one police cruiser before he got into the marked Georgetown County Sheriff’s patrol car, a Dodge Charger, and led police on the chase.

The chase, which started in the Murrells Inlet area, continued up U.S. 17 into Garden City Beach, Surfside Beach and nearly into Myrtle Beach before he made a u-turn and went down U.S. 17 Business to S.C. 544 and into Conway.

At times speeds topped more than 120 mph.

In Conway, officers used stop sticks to flatten the tires on the police cruiser, but it only slowed the vehicle.

After the tires were flattened, the vehicle continued at speeds from 30 to 70 mph.

The pursuit continued through Horry County on U.S. 701 North to Loris and then into North Carolina to Highway 904 west of Tabor City, N.C., where N.C. Highway Patrol stopped the vehicle and took the driver into custody.

Georgetown County Sheriff’s deputies were assisted during the chase by the S.C. Highway Patrol, Horry County Police Department, Columbus County Sheriff’s Office and the N.C. Highway Patrol.

The case is under administrative review concerning the sheriff’s deputies’ actions before, during and after the vehicle was stolen.

In an Horry County police report, officers were called about the Dodge Charger patrol car coming into Horry County and they assisted with the chase from Murrells Inlet until it crossed the North Carolina state line.

At one point, the driver contacted dispatchers and demanded to speak to someone with the CIA, according to the report.

Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723 or follow her at Twitter.com/tonyaroot.

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