Shoplifting suspect hits Effingham County deputy's car during hi - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Shoplifting suspect hits Effingham County deputy's car during high-speed chase

(Source: Effingham County Sheriff's Office) (Source: Effingham County Sheriff's Office)
EFFINGHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -

What started as a shoplifting call for deputies in Effingham County, turned into a high-speed pursuit involving multiple agencies.

Now, we're seeing the dash cam video of that chase for the first time, and how close one deputy was to getting seriously injured - or worse. 

This latest pursuit is a reminder of how quickly things can turn dangerous, no matter what the initial call for service is.

A 'be on the lookout' call went out just before 8 p.m. last Friday to find a black Chevy Impala following an alleged shoplifting incident at a Walmart. Effingham County Sheriff's Deputy Deandre Loucks happened to spot the car and pulled a u-turn to pull the car over. But it was clear the driver, Tiffany Lee, had no intention of giving up peacefully. 

Lee took deputies and Georgia State Patrol on a miles-long chase reaching speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. 

Just when it seemed Deputy Loucks had Lee and her passenger Thomas Schmidt cornered, Lee threw the car in reverse, hitting Loucks' cruiser, before driving off again.

A short time later, the Impala crashed and stopped for good, and after a quick foot chase, Lee and Schmidt were arrested.

"Our job usually goes from zero to sixty, like right now," said Jimmy McDuffie, Sheriff, Effingham County. "And it could be today. When you think the little thing that isn't going to amount to anything, usually winds up to be the big thing at the end of the afternoon."

"I go out here, and I know I got partners, my co-workers out here that got my back. You just got to be prepared when you come on the street," said Deputy Loucks.

"Mentally, I know I got God on my side, so I'm always prayed up. I go out here, and I know I got partners, my co-workers out here that got my back. You just got to be prepared when you come on the street," said Deputy Loucks.

Lee faces charges like DUI, fleeing, aggravated assault and reckless driving. Lee's passenger, Thomas Schmidt, has been arrested six times since 2015, and is charged with obstruction in this latest incident.

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