Police say 15-year-old stole car, crashed into church

Police say the Jeep was stolen from a driveway on Memory Lane. / Aaron Varnam

Horry County police say around 1 a.m. Friday morning, a 15-year old stole a car, led police on a chase, and crashed into the side of Socastee Baptist Church.

Police first got a call from a woman on Memory Lane whose jeep was stolen. The woman told police she heard a car door slam and a car start. When she looked out the window, she saw her red Jeep Wrangler going down the road.

Both the car owner and the officer went to look for the Jeep. The owner spotted the car near Highway 707 and Moss Creek Loop and called the officer.

The officer caught up with the Jeep on Highway 707 near Enterprise Road and tried to get the driver to pull over. In a police report, the office says he determined conditions were appropriate to chase the vehicle. The officer says the Jeep was going about 45 miles per hour and increased to 60 miles per hour just before hitting Socastee Baptist Church.

The officer says the girl was laying on the driver's side floor, conscious but hurt from the crash. The officer found out who the girl was and her age. She told him she is 15 years old. Because she is a juvenile, we are not releasing her name.

Horry County Fire Rescue extricated the girl and took her to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center. The police report says she's in serious condition, yet stable.

Police charged the girl with Grand Larceny, Failure to stop for a Blue Light, and Malicious Injury to Place of Worship.

The damage to the church is extensive, but Senior Pastor Micah Lane says their concern is for the girl. "The people, we are the church. The structure of the building can be repaired," he told us.

Debris was thrown all over the sanctuary from the impact.

Pastor Lane says he found out about the crash pretty quickly because one of the first responders was a member of the church.

A note about the dashcam video attached to this story... we stopped the video before the teen gives the names of several people that could lead to her identity. We do want to point out that later in the video the officer talks extensively with the girl, repeatedly telling her that she has a lot to live for and keeping her calm as they waited for rescuers to arrive.