10/3/23 Aiken, SC – Traffic Stop – Suspect Arrested For Drugs – Climbed Through Patrol Car In Handcuffs – Steals Patrol Car – Chase – PIT Maneuver – Car Overturns – Suspect Taken To Hospital

October 3, 2023


Aiken County authorities have captured a suspect who stole an Aiken Public Safety vehicle Monday morning and then overturned it during a wild chase.

Repeat offender Kevin Kirkland, of Aiken, was under arrest for drugs after a traffic stop earlier on Richland Avenue in Aiken, but he climbed through the patrol car in handcuffs and took off with the vehicle, Aiken Public Safety Lt. Jennifer Hayes said.

“He was in the back of a vehicle with a cage. How he was able to get though the barrier is being investigated,” Lt. Hayes said. “We will work on procedures to help prevent this from occurring in the future.”

The sheriff’s office confirms that their officer performed a PIT maneuver on Glenwood Drive near Silver Bluff Road, and the suspect was taken back into custody. A PIT maneuver is a pursuit tactic used by law enforcement to force a fleeing vehicle to stop. 

Photos from a staff member with The Augusta Press show an ADPS vehicle on its side and a suspect on the ground on Glenwood Drive near the Equine Rescue of Aiken. Witnesses say the suspect took out a fence post and mailbox in the crash.

Witness video shows a combination of Aiken Public Safety and sheriff’s deputies chasing the stolen patrol car through Warrenville by the Dollar General on Howlandville Road, where an officer is seen trying to use spike strips to disable the vehicle. The chase continued for miles with the wreck scene located over 6 miles away.

The suspect was taken to a local hospital for treatment. He is facing charges of possession of meth with intent to distribute, grand larceny, failure to stop for blue lights and sirens. Additional charges may follow, police said. The S.C. Highway Patrol is investigating.

Cindy Yeakel, who volunteers at the rescue, said she was leaving her job and heard sirens. She stopped at the end of the driveway.

“A bunch of police cars were speeding by and the first one flipped, and the rest is history,” she said.

Here is the Aiken Public Safety press release:

Aiken, SC (October 2, 2023) – At approximately 9:20 am, City of Aiken Department of Public Safety Officers conducted a traffic stop near the intersection of Richland Avenue and Lancaster Street. Kevin Kirkland, an occupant of the vehicle, was placed under arrest for drug charges. He was handcuffed behind his back and placed in the rear of a patrol vehicle.

The subject gained access to the front of the patrol car and drove off. City of Aiken Department of Public Safety Officers began a pursuit that went through Aiken, Graniteville, and the area surrounding Hwy 421. The Aiken County Sheriff’s Department assisted in the pursuit.

The subject wrecked off of Glenwood Rd and was taken into custody. The subject was then transported to a local medical facility. The collision is being investigated by South Carolina Highway Patrol. Mr. Kirkland will be charged with PWID Meth, Grand Larceny, and Failure to stop for Blue Lights and Sirens. Additional charges may follow.