CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - People in North Charleston saw a strange site Sunday afternoon: a Charleston Fire Department vehicle being pursued in a low-speed chase by multiple police cars.
The chase ended Sunday with 33-year-old David Lathan Jr. being taken into custody after leading police from Goose Creek, through North Charleston and into the Charleston city limits, according to Goose Creek Lt. Tom Hill.
The vehicle had been stolen at approximately 10 a.m. from Fire Station 13 on Folly Road, Charleston Police spokesman Charles Francis said.
Hill said Charleston County Consolidated Dispatch contacted his department for help in making contact with a stolen 2016 Red Ford F250 belonging to the City of Charleston Fire Department. At the time, the last known location for the vehicle, which was equipped with GPS tracking, was in the area of Alston Cir and Spring Hall Dr approximately 2 minutes prior to the call.
An officer spotted the vehicle parked in the 100 block of Bridgetown Road and contacted the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office, police said. While waiting on deputies to respond, the officer spotted a man get into the vehicle and drive off toward Crowfield Boulevard and the officer followed him. The vehicle’s driver would not stop for blue lights and turned onto Highway 176, Hill said.
Berkeley County then joined in with the pursuit and the vehicle continued into North Charleston speeds never reaching over 40 mph, Hill said.
North Charleston and Charleston County Sheriffs office joined the pursuit once in the area of Northwoods mall, the pursuit finally ended once inside Charleston City Limits with all four tires on the vehicle being taken out by stop sticks.
Lathan was then taken into custody without incident, Hill said.
Video of the incident recorded in North Charleston showed more than a 20 units from North Charleston and Goose Creek Police and at least one unit from the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office following the red Charleston Fire SUV with “Battalion 105” printed on the side windows.
Video provided by witnesses showed the fire vehicle had a flat tire on the rear driver’s side.
Charleston Deputy Fire Marshal Mike Julazedah said no one was injured. The vehicle sustained minor damage and will be returned to service in the near future, he said.
Lathan’s father, David Lathan Sir., says his son has been battling a mental illness for the last year and has been arrested at least three times for incidents related to his condition before the car chase.
He stated that he has tried to have his son committed to a hospital and feels the system has failed repeatedly to properly address mental health issues.