Suspect chase stretches over three counties

Photo from the scene of the investigation on Highway 17. (Brandon Geier/WCIV)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A woman who stopped to help after she witnessed a car flip in Jamestown got quite a surprise on Friday -- she was carjacked.

Even though the suspect, Lonnie Lamar Hazelton, 27, of North Charleston was disoriented from the crash, the woman said he still managed to pull a gun on her.

What followed next was a pursuit across several counties that involved several law enforcement agencies.

"I was just shocked when I saw him pass me when the car flipped because I thought he was dead," Paula Ackerman said. "So, I ran over to assist him, and that's when he went over and took my own car. But I'm just so thankful to be alive, because you never know what could happen in these situations."

Authorities say the chase started around 8 p.m., wound through Charleston County and shots were fired at officers in McClellanville near Pinckney Street. A deputy fired back, and no one was hit.

Charleston deputies say Hazelton abandoned the woman's Honda van during the exchange of gunfire and carjacked a car to Georgetown.

Georgetown County Sheriff's Deputies were notified of the chase and responded by traveling south on Highway 17. Just north of the North Santee River on Highway 17, sheriff's deputies came in contact with a vehicle involved in the carjacking when it crossed into the south bound lane and almost collided with the deputy before crashing into the woods.

When the deputy turned his vehicle around, the subject was in the middle of the road with what appeared to be a handgun on the pavement behind him. A sheriff's deputy ordered the subject onto the ground.

Hazelton received only minor injuries from the crash. He has been released into the custody of the Charleston County Sheriff's Office.

A spokesperson for Charleston County says Hazelton carjacked at least two vehicles Friday night.

Because shots were fired by an officer, the county has requested the assistance of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).