A Georgia man is facing several charges in South Carolina after authorities said he threw a 13-year-old girl he met online from a car during a police chase.
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Derek Jerome Nelson, 30, of Augusta, was arrested in Richland County, South Carolina, after the teen told deputies her boyfriend tossed her from the moving car.
A deputy spotted a car in a vacant parking lot outside a business in the 4700 block of Alpine Road just before 3 a.m. Sunday, Richland authorities told AJC.com on Wednesday.
When the deputy approached the car and turned on his lights, he saw two people in the back seat, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office. The deputy said a man climbed into the driver’s seat of the car and sped away.
The deputy followed him, and a chase ensued, officials said.
“At least twice during the chase, the suspect vehicle braked hard and drove off the road,” officials with the Richland County Sheriff’s Office said. The deputy said he saw something fly from the car during one of the stops. He originally thought it was a part of the car, according to officials.
When the car came to a stop, officials said, Nelson got out and approached the deputy wearing only a T-shirt. The deputy told him several times to return to his car, Sheriff’s Office officials said.
Nelson told the deputy he was “hooking up” with a girl he met on the internet and got scared when the deputy approached his car, officials said. He also said the girl jumped out of the car during one of the stops, authorities said.
Other deputies searched the area where Nelson said the girl jumped from the car and found the 13-year-old with injuries to her hands, arms and legs, officials with the Sheriff’s Office said.
“When approached by one of the deputies, she said she was ‘thrown from the car’ by her boyfriend,” Richland officials said.
The teen was taken to the hospital for treatment.
Investigators determined Nelson had driven from Augusta to meet the teen, whom he had met on an online dating site. Nelson reportedly told investigators he thought the girl was 18 years old. In a message, however, he called the teen his “13 year old doll,” Richland investigators said.
Nelson is being held without bond at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center in Columbia, South Carolina. According to jail records, he is charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor, assault/battery, solicitation to commit a felony, dissemination of obscene material to a person less than 18 years old, failure to stop for a blue light and two counts of first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.