A Newberry County Sheriff’s deputy is in the hospital after she was injured after her vehicle crashed while chasing a suspect late Tuesday night.
“She’s going to have to spend her Thanksgiving in the hospital,” Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster said, “However, the silver lining in this cloud is that she’s going to be with us for Thanksgiving. It could have been a lot worse.”
Deputy Erin Leighton was working a safety checkpoint at 11pm Tuesday when officers say a pickup truck approaching them turned off its headlights, pulled into a driveway to turn around, and then drove the opposite way with its lights out.
Leighton got into her own car to follow the vehicle. However, she somehow lost control while driving a half-mile later. Her car went off the road, flipped once, and rolled down an embankment.
Deputies say Leighton had not caught up with the other car yet and was not actively chasing it when the crash happened. She was able to call for help while trapped after the crash.
Sheriff Lee Foster said investigators are trying to determine why Leighton lost control. He said she was “seriously injured” and needed to undergo surgery, although he did not elaborate.
Foster said officers have not yet found the pickup, which they describe as red with a lift kit and a loud muffler.
Leighton has been a deputy in the department since February, but completed a work study with Newberry prior to that. “She’s a very intelligent, very personable individual (with) a lot of talents that she learned in the military,” Foster said, “Very promising career in law enforcement.”
She is also scheduled to graduate from Newberry College in December.
Deputies are trying to track down the driver, who faces charges for failing to stop at a checkpoint. Foster said he hopes more charges come down after the crash. “The direct cause of the accident was her trying to catch a law violator and a coward,” he said, “I would hope there would be other charges, but that’s going to be up to the legal minds to figure out.”