Two Greenville, SC, men who led Commerce police on a high-speed chase up and down Interstate 85 early Sunday morning face a multitude of charges.
Devin Javon Hawkins, 21, and Toni Anstevia Jeter, 38, were eventually arrested by a Commerce officer who found them lying on the ground in the woods near Wayne Poultry Road, where they’d abandoned their vehicle.
Hawkins, the driver, is charged with fleeing or attempting to elude police, driving in the emergency lane, failure to maintain a lane, passing on the shoulder of the road, reckless driving, speeding and a window tint violation. Jeter was charged with forgery, giving false information and obstruction of officers.
The incident began just after midnight May 7 when an officer pulled the vehicle over on I-85 after seeing it cross the fog line twice and noting window tint that appeared to be excessive. The vehicle stopped, but as the officer approached, the driver took off northbound on I-85.
The officer gave chase, noting that speeds surpassed 90 miles per hour. The vehicle passed several trucks in the emergency lane, exited at Hwy. 63 in Banks County, turned left onto the I-85 southbound lane and headed back toward Banks Crossing, where it exited north on U.S. 441, left onto Faulkner Road, drove through the Wendy’s parking lot, turned back onto U.S. 441 and got back on I-85 headed south.
The officer observed speeds of up to 100 mph. The vehicle began to exit at Maysville Road, but at the last minute pulled onto the grass and back onto I-85. It exited at the Dry Pond Road, crossing the center line multiple times, according to the officer in pursuit. It turned around in a parking lot and headed back to I-85.
By that time, another Commerce officer had deployed “stop sticks.” The driver avoided them, but the pursuing Commerce officer, unaware they’d been deployed, drove over them.
In a curve, the offenders’ vehicle suddenly slowed down, forcing the Commerce officer into the other lane, where the two vehicles hit each other side-to-side. At that time, two of the police car’s tires went flat from the stop sticks, ending the chase for the officer.
A few minutes later, dispatch notified Commerce police that the vehicle had been abandoned near Wayne Poultry Road. A Commerce officer responded, searched the area and found the two men lying on the ground, where he arrested them.
Jeter talked to police, but gave them another name. He said Hawkins was the driver and he did not know why Hawkins chose to flee.
Hawkins allegedly told police that “where he was from, everyone ran from the police,” according to the arrest report.
It wasn’t until Jeter’s fingerprints were taken and run at the jail that they learned his real name, which resulted in the forgery charge.