Stolen car found in staged wreck

Investigators believe a car reportedly stolen last week was found in what was staged to look like a wreck.

Patrolmen found the 1999 Honda Accord near the intersection of S.C. 97 and Lockhart Road in the Sharon area, wedged against a tree at the bottom of a ditch, with the front bumper detached and lying on the ground.

But investigators determined the damage to the car was not consistent with the position in which it was found. Highway Patrol found an umbrella had been lodged against the gas pedal, causing the vehicle to accelerate without anyone needing to be in the car. Also, the Honda’s gas gauge was on empty when it was found.

The owner was located by tracing the VIN, and he told deputies he’d left the recently purchased car at an auto shop in Clover just the night before, more than 20 miles from where it was ultimately found. The key had reportedly been left under the car’s floor mat.

It was unclear how the car reached its final destination or how it really suffered what investigators estimate is $2,000 worth of damage.