Two South Carolina men are in custody and a third is in the hospital following a rash of vehicle break-ins early Sunday morning.
In a release, Bulloch County Sheriff Noel Brown said Nichquan Nicholeon Evans and Joshua Phillip Washington of St. Helena Island, South Carolina, face charges of entering an automobile with intent to commit theft or felony. A third man, Aaron Cuthbert, is at East Georgia Regional Medical Center and will face similar charges when released.
Chief Deputy Bill Black said all three men are likely to face additional theft and drug charges and possibly illegal possession of firearm charges, as well.
According to the release, the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office was notified about 2:30 a.m. Sunday that three suspicious persons were seen on foot in the Iron Gate subdivision. Multiple deputies responded to the scene as the Sheriff’s Office had received several calls from other subdivisions in Bulloch County that had experienced a number of vehicle break-ins.
In addition to several patrol deputies, an investigator and K-9 unit also headed to the scene.
Upon arrival at Iron Gate, a perimeter was set up covering all possible exit points. Shortly after K-9 Gismo was deployed, a possible suspect vehicle was observed leaving the area at a high rate of speed, according to the release.
Deputy Adam Paquette and Deputy Rhett Kelley pursued the vehicle. After Kelley attempted several PIT maneuvers, the vehicle finally came to a stop. At this point, the vehicle was occupied by the driver and two passengers.
As Deputy Paquette was driving up to assist Kelley arrest the suspects, one of the passengers abruptly exited the vehicle in an effort to escape, according to the release. Paquette attempted to swerve, but the fleeing suspect ran directly into the path of Paquette and was struck. Paquette offered aid and was assisted by Deputy Kelley, who has training as an EMT.
The man struck by the vehicle was identified as Aaron Cuthbert, and he was transported to East Georgia Regional Medical Center by EMS. Black said Cuthbert, who also is from St. Helena Island, may have suffered some broken bones, but none of the injuries are considered life-threatening, he said.
The driver, Washington, 22, and the second passenger, Evans, 20, were arrested and transported to the Bulloch County Jail.
According to the release, when Washington was ordered out of the vehicle, a pistol was observed on the seat. Also, deputies recovered multiple firearms, as well as other stolen property and a quantity of marijuana, from the vehicle.
“I would like to commend all deputies involved in this arrest, which will most likely result in charges being filed for multiple thefts and vehicle break-ins,” Brown said. “The teamwork involved was exemplary.”
Also, Sheriff Brown said that the number of deputies it takes to set an effective perimeter and arrest multiple offenders in situations like this demonstrates the need to add additional deputy positions to the Sheriff’s Office as Bulloch County continues to grow.
Anyone with additional information about the case is asked to contact Investigator Jonathan Fadden at (912) 764-1747.