The chase happened around 3 a.m. in Columbia after deputies approached a vehicle in an empty parking lot, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department said.
The deputies observed a man – later identified as Augusta resident, Derek Jerome Nelson – climb from the back into the driver’s seat and take off, according to news release cited by The State.
During the chase, “the suspect’s vehicle braked hard and drove off the road,” and the deputies saw what looked like “parts of the vehicle flying in the air,” the sheriff’s department said.
The driver, wearing nothing but a T-shirt, eventually stopped and was arrested, the news release said. He told officers he was “hooking up” with a girl he met online, and she had jumped out during the chase, the news release said.
Investigators discovered that the girl, who was 13, had injured her arms and legs. She allegedly told deputies that Nelson, “her 30-year-old boyfriend” had “thrown her from the car."
Nelson told deputies he thought the girl was 18 but had referred to her in a message as “my 13-year-old doll,” the news release said.
Nelson was booked in the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on a number of charges in connection with the incident, including assault and battery, and sexual exploitation of a minor, the news release said.