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Wanted man arrested days after stolen car chase from Charlotte to South Carolina

Agents spotted the wanted man walking along Highway 21 near Highway 200 in the Great Falls area.
Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 3:45 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2021 at 4:07 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A wanted man has been arrested after his woman passenger identified him as the driver when she was arrested after a police chase in a stolen car from Charlotte to South Carolina.

On Monday, Chester County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested Hope Smith, the female passenger in a high-speed chase out of Charlotte. Because of the arrest, the Chester County Sheriff’s Office has identified Gage Plourde, of Ridgeway, Virginia, as the driver in the high-speed chase.

On Wednesday around 2 p.m., agents with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SC DNR) spotted Plourde walking along Highway 21 near Highway 200 in the Great Falls area.

Plourde was taken into custody and is being transported to the Chester County Detention Center by Sheriff’s Deputies. Warrants were sought for possession of a stolen vehicle and reckless driving for Plourde.

“We would like to thank the community for remaining vigilant and providing us with information during this search. We also would like to thank our partners with SC DNR for their assistance in his capture,” deputies said in a press release.

The people of Chester County, especially the Fort Lawn area, had Plourde on the mind Wednesday night.

”It’s scary. I am kind of lost for words,” says one woman who lives in the area.

On Monday, Chester County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested Hope Smith, the female passenger in a...
On Monday, Chester County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested Hope Smith, the female passenger in a high-speed chase out of Charlotte. Because of the arrest, the Chester County Sheriff’s Office has identified Gage Plourde, of Ridgeway, Virginia, as the driver in the high-speed chase.(Chester County Sheriff's Office)

On Monday afternoon, police were in pursuit of a stolen car. Sky3 was over the scene of the high-speed chase on I-485 in Charlotte.

The chase made it down to I-77 and then into South Carolina. Chester County Sheriff’s Office said the pursuit involved a stolen white Crown Victoria from Virginia. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said they responded shortly after 3 p.m. when they were alerted to a license plate hit involving a stolen car near North Tryon Street and University City Boulevard. When officers tried to initiate a traffic stop, the car continued speeding off. CMPD followed the car into South Carolina, according to police.

Sky3 saw the car stop in South Carolina, and officers pulled up next to it. Chester County deputies said the chase reached speeds of 115 mph and ended when a white male and a white female jumped up of the car and into the woods off Deer Branch Road, south of the Fort Lawn area near Highway 21. Chester County deputies, along with York County deputies established a perimeter on Deer Branch Road near High Tower Road.

”All the crazy things that happen here, you never know what’s gonna happen,” says another woman.

“Makes you nervous because you got to watch your back and try to wonder where they’re coming from,” says a man who lives in Fort Lawn.

In an incident report, a Chester County deputy says the male suspect was driving recklessly, at a high speed, passing vehicles on a double yellow line, driving in the opposite lane and passing a stopped school bus. A few minutes later, the deputy says dispatch advised the suspect vehicle was parked in the middle of Deer Branch Road. Once on scene, the deputy cleared the vehicle and nobody was in it, so the vehicle was towed.

About an hour after the towing, the deputy says he was able to locate the woman passenger identified as Hope Smith. The deputy says Smith came out of the woods, started running on Catawba River Road toward Great Falls and tried to get a ride from an unknown man driving a green truck.

The deputy says he was able to get to Smith before the truck drove off and asked her to step out of the vehicle. He then asked her where the man was that was driving the stolen vehicle and running in the woods.

Smith told the deputy that after the two parked, they both got out and ran different ways. Smith described the suspect as a white man with face tattoos. Smith then identified the driver as Gage Plourde of Ridgeway, Virginia.

Smith reportedly said they both had been hanging out for a couple of days and that Plourde told her the vehicle was stolen. Smith was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle and was taken to the Chester County Detention Center.

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