NORTH CHARLESTON, SC — The North Charleston Police Department (NCPD) is looking into a high-speed escort operation that happened Saturday afternoon involving finalists for the Miss South Carolina USA Pageant.
A viewer emailed the WCBD Investigation Team after seeing the video broadcast on a social media application called Periscope.
At the start of the video, a passenger in the NCPD SUV says he is riding with the officers escorting the finalists of the Miss South Carolina USA Pageant.
NCPD confirms, officers escorted the contestants from the Performing Arts Center to Northwoods Mall.
Someone can be heard warning the passengers not to roll down the windows because, “we’re gonna be doin’ over 100 mile[s] an hour, I don’t think you’ll want the windows down”.
The passenger recording the trip says the two buses carrying the contestants were headed to lunch [at Northwoods Mall]. They appear to enter I-26 westbound from Montague Avenue, and immediately the escort vehicles encounter traffic, through which they weave and the engine roars to life as they drive past the convoy of vehicles and the two buses.
At a couple points in the video, the SUV’s siren can no longer be heard over the wind noise in the vehicle and the whistle of the mirrors. As the vehicle slows down to block an entrance ramp, the siren is once again audible.
WCBD sent a copy of the video to NCPD Chief Eddie Driggers, and North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey. Their spokesmen said neither would be available to go on camera Monday to talk about what the video shows, but NCPD spokesman Spencer Pryor did.
“It’s part of protocol,” Pryor said. “When I looked at the video, and I had a few other officers look at it too, if you kind of examine it, you could almost tell that there’s really not 100 or 110 miles an hour that the vehicles are going.”
Pryor could not confirm whether the voice at the beginning of the video, declaring they would be topping 100 mph, is the officer.
A WCBD reporter pointed out that with someone clearly recording a reference to 100 mph, that if it was not correct, then the police officer would likely correct that reference in the video.
“Well, you would hope so…and that is something that we’re going to look at,” Pryor said.
However, he also said he could not see a situation where that would be acceptable either.
Pryor insists, Chief Driggers will look at the video, and they will investigate whether protocol is followed, and if it was whether it is the best way to operate.
WCBD asked the Miss South Carolina USA folks for a statement, and the Executive Director Paula Miles said:
“For more than 18 years the escorts have been helping us get our contestants, on two large buses, from the North Charleston Performing Arts Theater to lunch on Saturday in a timely safe manner. We value them for the protection that they give us.”