Lawsuit: SC Fire Chief Chased Teens, Held Them at Gunpoint

They were pursued after using chief's driveway to turn around
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 23, 2023 9:39 AM CDT
Lawsuit: SC Fire Chief Chased Teens, Held Them at Gunpoint
Fire Chief Billy McAdams speaks with reporters about a school shooting during a news conference in Townville, SC, on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016.   (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)

A fire chief in South Carolina is being sued over what the mothers of two teenagers say was conduct "utterly intolerable in a civilized community." According to the lawsuit, Townville Fire Chief Billy McAdams and his son chased two 17-year-olds at high speeds and held them at gunpoint last summer after the teens used McAdams' driveway to turn around, the Washington Post reports. In 911 calls heard by the Post and Fox Carolina, the teens said they were being chased by armed men in two pickup trucks. "They're yelling and trying to run us off the road," one teen said. "And all we did was we just made a little quick turn around in their yard, gave them a wave because they were in their garage."

The teen told the Oconee County dispatcher that they were going to pull over, but the men "were extremely enraged, and we didn't want to have a gun pulled on us or anything like that." According to the lawsuit, the pursuers boxed the teens in at an intersection. "They're making us get out of the car with guns," one teen told the dispatcher. "Ma'am, I'm sorry. I'm getting—we're getting on the ground." McAdams had used his radio to call dispatchers in Anderson County to say he "possibly witnessed a robbery" and was following a car. The Post reports that recordings show that when authorities realized McAdams was one of the pursuers the teens had reported, the Oconee County dispatcher asked Anderson County to tell the fire chief to put his gun away, but he had hung up by that point.

According to the lawsuit, the teens became lost while scouting locations to hunt geese and decided McAdams' "large, well-maintained gravel drive" was a good place to turn around. The lawsuit accuses McAdams and his son of assault and false imprisonment. The fire chief denies the accusations, though a court filing states that he admitted chasing the car, pointing a gun at the teens, and ordering them to lie on the ground. According to a sheriff's office incident report, he told officers that he decided to chase the car because there had been a "lot of thefts" at his home. No charges were filed at the time, but the sheriff's office says it recently reopened the investigation due to "new information." (More South Carolina stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.