Suspect Still At Large After Chase in Hart Co.

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia

Hart County Sheriff’s Office deputies are searching for an Anderson, South Carolina man involved in a high-speed chase that wrecked the Hart County Sheriff’s cruiser.

It happened at about 7 p.m. on Christmas Day.

Hart County Sheriff Mike Cleveland said his dispatcher received a call about an erratic driver in a Chrysler 350 that involved a case of road rage.

As deputies patrolled the area, Cleveland said the suspect’s vehicle was spotted at the intersection of State Routes 51 and 77.

“Myself and two deputies were sitting at the intersection of 51 and 77 and the vehicle pulled up to the stop sign,” Cleveland said. “Deputy Carroll attempted to make a stop on the vehicle before it got to the bottom of the hill, but it took off on us. We all gave chase and the chase went through the City of Hartwell.”

Hartwell Police joined in the high-speed chase, which reached speeds of up to 120 miles per hour through Hartwell on U.S. Highway 29.

Cleveland said the vehicle was chased into Anderson County, South Carolina to Good Hope Church Road where the driver attempted to ram the Sheriff’s car.

“He rammed me head on in attempt to get out of the road stop we had with our vehicles. At that time he threw it into reverse, hit a tree, then got out and ran. Anderson County came right away with two blood hounds and ran him for over two hours, tracking him,” Cleveland said.

As of last report, Cleveland said the suspect, identified as 29-year old Michael David Brandon Chastain, was still at large.

Cleveland’s vehicle sustained only slight damage and Cleveland was not injured.

Cleveland said both the South Carolina State Patrol and Anderson County authorities have taken out warrants for Chastain.

“We’ve obtained warrants for everything he did in Georgia. South Carolina Highway Patrol took warrants out for him for what he did in Anderson County,” Cleveland said. “Anderson County took out warrants on my behalf for aggravated assault. So, we’ve got a number of warrants against him both here and in South Carolina.”

In Hart County, Chastain is charged with felony fleeing and attempting to elude, reckless driving, speeding, and driving too fast for conditions.

Cleveland said Chastain was driving a car rented by his girlfriend.

Chastain reportedly has no known address.