A seven-year-old child is in the hospital with life-threatening injuries after she was ejected from a vehicle that crashed while being chased by sheriff’s deputies on Interstate 85 in Spartanburg County. The girl, whose name was not given, is in very serious condition, according to Sheriff Chuck Wright.
Wright said deputies tried to stop the girl’s aunt for tailgating and making improper lane changes. He said 26-year-old Errika Shelton refused to stop and instead led the cops on a chase along the interstate, eventually reaching speeds greater than 100 MPH, before wrecking close to mile marker 81.
Shelton was also taken to the hospital, although her injuries were not considered serious. Wright said deputies found a half-pound of marijuana in the vehicle and said more was thrown out during the chase. Officers believe the woman was under the drug’s influence at the time.
Wright said his deputies did not realize the girl was in the car when they began chasing Shelton, but said he did not feel the officers did anything wrong. “We are the police and we chase bad guys,” he told reporters Monday, “That’s been happening ever since it’s been horseback. We’re not at fault in this wreck.”
However, he said the deputies would have “absolutely” acted differently had they realized a child was in the car.
“We are very saddened that a child has been injured pretty badly,” Wright said, “But I want you all to know that this was all the fault of the lady that was driving the car.”
The deputies initiated the stop as part of Spartanburg County’s “Operation Rolling Thunder,” which is when officers from around the state converge on the area’s interstates.