RINCON -- Saturday's Freedom Rings Parade ended with a frightening bang.
The event was disrupted by a driver who pulled onto Fort Howard Road from Lockner Driver at Lost Plantation and headed one mile in the opposite direction of the parade route at a high rate of speed. The driver zig-zagged through parade entries, barely missed young spectators who gathered along the edge of the road to collect candy.
Two Rincon Police Department vehicles at the front of the parade quickly pursued the fleeing driver, which steered a Jeep Grand Cherokee through Rincon Fire Department trucks that tried to block her path.
The pursuit ended when Officer Ian Gallagher, heading in the same direction as the parade, hit the Grand Cherokee head-on with his vehicle near Rincon Elementary School at Market Street. Gallagher, a member of the K-9 unit, was taken to a nearby hospital. His dog Razor was unharmed.
The driver was taken to the Effingham County Jail.
"She said she was late for work and wasn't going to wait for a parade," Chief Jonathan Murrell said. "Well, she's not going to make it to work now."
Murrell said the driver ignored Lost Plantation barricades and the pleas of Public Works Supervisor Tim Bowles to stop before the chase began.
More details to follow.