Manhunt suspect identified following Polk car chase
Published 11:35 pm Thursday, April 7, 2016
By Leah Justice
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office has identified and as of late Thursday were still searching for a suspect that led authorities on a high-speed car chase Wednesday night, then stole a golf cart in the Tryon area and stole a vehicle in Landrum.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Randall Hodge said the suspect has been identified as Stephen Johnson Craft II, of Fish Hatchery Rd., Lexington, S.C.
The car chase began around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 6 when the N.C. Highway Patrol received a report of a Chevrolet Tahoe with a possible impaired driver traveling along I-26 East, according to the sheriff report.
Troopers pulled over the Tahoe, but as they approached the vehicle, the suspect sped off and began the chase into Polk County. The vehicle was allegedly stolen out of Canton with troopers attempting to pull over the vehicle within Henderson County.
The chase reached speeds of 90 mph and ended on I-26 just before the South Carolina state line after Polk County Sheriff’s deputies deployed stop sticks, flattening the vehicles tires.
“The driver then fled on foot into the nearby woods,” Hodge said. “The subject was unable to be located.”
Hodge said once Craft ran on foot into a nearby neighborhood, he stole a golf cart. The golf cart was reported stolen out of the Hunting Country neighborhood Thursday morning.
Craft is believed to have driven the golf cart from Hunting Country to the Hot Spot in Landrum, where the golf cart was later found with Craft stealing a vehicle from the Hot Spot and fleeing the area. Hodge said late Thursday, Craft’s whereabouts were still unknown.
The sheriff’s office believes it may be possible Craft is in the area of Canton in Haywood County.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office has issued warrants for Craft, including charges of breaking and entering of a dwelling, breaking and entering a motor vehicle and two counts of larceny after breaking and entering, according to Hodge.
The Landrum Police Department, the N.C. Highway Patrol and possibly other agencies are also expected to issue charges on Craft.