South Carolina

Georgia man who threw teen from car chase now facing sex crime charges, SC cops say

Derek Jerome Nelson had sex crimes added to his previous charges following a high-speed chase.
Derek Jerome Nelson had sex crimes added to his previous charges following a high-speed chase. Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center

The Georgia man who was found half naked after throwing a 13-year-old girl out of a vehicle during a high-speed chase is facing new charges on multiple sex crimes, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday.

Derek Jerome Nelson is accused of having sex with the minor and recording the act, after a video was found on his cellphone, the sheriff’s department said in a news release.

The 30-year-old Augusta resident was arrested July 7, following a chase that started moments after deputies saw a vehicle parked at a vacant business in the 4700 block of Alpine Road prior to 3 a.m., according to the news release.

A deputy approached the vehicle and turned on his lights, prompting Nelson to climb from the back, where he was with another person, and into the driver’s seat and drive away, the sheriff’s department said.

At least twice during the chase, “the suspect vehicle braked hard and drove off the road,” and the deputy in pursuit saw what he thought were “parts of the vehicle flying in the air during the stops,” the news release said.

When he finally stopped, Nelson was only wearing a T-shirt when he approached the deputy, saying he was “hooking up” with a girl he met on the internet. Nelson said he was startled by the deputy and the girl jumped out of the vehicle during the chase, the sheriff’s department said.

Other deputies discovered the girl, who was suffering injuries to her hands, arms and legs; telling deputies she was “thrown from the car” by her boyfriend, according to the news release. The minor was taken to an area hospital for treatment.

Investigators said Nelson came to Columbia to meet someone he connected with on an online dating site. That was the teen, who called Nelson “her 30-year-old boyfriend,” the sheriff’s department said.

Nelson told investigators that he thought the girl was 18, but a message he sent her showed he called the girl “my 13-year-old doll,” according to the news release.

Upon his arrest, Nelson was originally charged with criminal sexual conduct, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, sexual exploitation of a minor, solicitation to commit a felony, dissemination of obscene material to a person under 18 and failure to stop for blue lights, according to the news release.

The sheriff’s department said the new charges Nelson is facing are first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.

Nelson remains at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center, jail records show.

The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force was developed federally in 1998 as the number of children and teenagers using the internet increased and child sexual abuse images became available electronically, authorities say.

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.