Calling him “a danger to the community,” a judge set a $200,000 bond Friday for a suspect who led police in both Carolinas on an Interstate 77 chase before crashing in Chester County.
Raekwon Jabari Johnson, 21, of Charlotte, is charged by Chester County deputies with possession of a stolen vehicle, reckless driving, driving without a license and failure to stop for a blue light.
Johnson was with two 16-year-old girls when he was pursued from Charlotte through York County to Chester, where he collided with a police car and van, police said.
Johnson crashed with a S.C. Highway Patrol trooper, then took off on a four-mile foot chase that ended when deputies caught him, said Capt. Matthew Faile of the Chester County Sheriff’s Office.
“He jumped and ran, and it was a two-hour chase on foot after that,” Faile said in court Friday.
Other vehicles were also hit by Johnson during the pursuit, said Faile.
Johnson admitted to involvement in the chase in court. He said he had no money for bond because he just buried a grandmother said he has a 3-year-old child
“I just need a little bit of help,” Johnson said in court. “I am not denying anything...I understand I made wrong decisions and have to live down what I do.”
But Johnson claimed police caused the crash.
“When I was on the highway, I didn’t crash into anybody, I got hit,” Johnson said in court.
Chester County Magistrate Judge Yale Zamore cut Johnson off, saying Friday’s hearing was only to set bond. He said Johnson and his court-appointed public defender would have a chance to defend himself later in court.
Zamore told Johnson “you all could have been killed,” referring to Johnson, the two girls, police and hundreds of other drivers on the busy highway.
“You were a hazard...What happened was very dangerous,” Zamore said.
Johnson is also wanted by Charlotte police, Zamore said.
Johnson has a record of several arrests in Charlotte, including unauthorized use of a vehicle, hit and run, larceny and other arrests in 2017, 2016, and 2015, online jail records from Charlotte show.
His last Charlotte charge, for unauthorized use of a vehicle and other felonies, was in February 2017, records show.
Zamore said to protect the public, he had to set a high bond. Even if Johnson makes bond, he must remain in South Carolina, Zamore said.
“This was a high-speed chase,” Zamore said.
Johnson, driving a stolen car, was being pursued after a Charlotte robbery, Chester Chief Deputy Robert Sprouse said.
Charlotte police have a hold on Johnson in addition to the pending South Carolina charges, police said.
The chase involved Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, York and Chester deputies, troopers, and a South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division helicopter.
The car was first headed south on I-77, then turned back northbound on I-77.
The chase ended with a crash on I-77 northbound in Chester County near Exit 65.
The girls who were with Johnson are in the custody of the S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice, said Faile. Their names have not been released.
More charges from other police agencies involved in the incident may be pending, Faile said during the court hearing.
Lance Cpl. Gary Miller of the S.C. Highway Patrol referred all questions about the incident to Chester County officials.