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Police chase wrong-way driver at 120 mph




A shoplifting suspect led authorities on a 120-mph chase through Wilson County on Thursday, at times driving the wrong way on U.S. 301.

Police, sheriff’s deputies and state troopers chased the car from Nashville to Smithfield, a distance spanning three counties, and the driver hadn’t been captured late Thursday.

The chase began in Nashville when police stopped a late-model white Toyota Avalon sedan on Eastern Avenue. Walmart employees called police and reported that a man accused of stealing from Walmart stores across North Carolina was inside.

"We did a traffic stop, and when officers got out of the car to approach him, he drove off,” Nashville Police Chief Thomas Bashore said. "That’s when the chase started.”

Police pursued the Toyota to Winstead Avenue, where Nash County sheriff’s deputies continued the chase.

Nash deputies "discontinued due to traffic conditions being too dangerous to continue,” sheriff’s Capt. Pat Joyner said.

The driver entered Wilson County shortly after 1 p.m. An emergency dispatcher said the car was traveling at 120 mph and was driving southbound into oncoming traffic on U.S. 301 North.

Bashore said the driver reached a top speed of about 80 mph in Nashville. The posted speed limit on those roads was 45 mph and 55 mph.

"Any time you go above the speed limit, you’re putting the public in danger,” he said. "He was going well above the speed limit and he was passing cars on the right side of the road.”

Wilson County sheriff’s deputies and Wilson police continued the chase, but authorities lost sight of the car on Black Creek Road near the Wilson city limits. An N.C. Highway Patrol trooper spotted the suspect minutes later on U.S. 264.

Authorities followed the driver onto Interstate 95. Dispatchers said the car was spotted going north and later traveling south on the interstate. The suspect drove south into Johnston County.

Bashore said the driver was last believed to be in or near Smithfield.

Authorities didn’t have the suspect’s name, but Bashore described him as a black man with his hair dyed blond standing about 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighing about 240 pounds.

The Toyota Avalon’s license plate number was ABF-5092, a tag that had been reported stolen, according to the Nash County Sheriff’s Office.

Police ask those with information on the suspect’s identity or whereabouts to call the Nashville Police Department at 459-4545 or contact their local law enforcement agency.

corey@wilsontimes.com | 265-7821
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View Comments:Show/Hide(8 comments)
Testosterone Cop said...

Shop lifters like this must be brought to justice, no matter how many innocent bystanders get in the way. Beats the heck out of traffic stops, which we do very few of. Heck, we like to speed and not use turn signals too.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 6:19 PM
To V Davis and Thomas said...

You don't know this person is not wanted for murder. A lot of things here point to them most likely being wanted for other things. In this particular incident they only have a confirmed shoplifting and possession of stolen tags, but I bet if we knew the entire story the vehicle is probably stolen and there are probably warrants out for him for other more serious crimes. I think folks need to quit arm-chair quarter-backing and appreciate the officers, deputies, and troopers who go out everyday to protect you and I. I bet if this car was stolen and it belonged to you, or if the "junk" that was stolen belonged to one of you you'd be screaming at the officers for not apprehending the suspect.

Saturday, March 09, 2013 at 9:07 AM
License Plate?? said...

This is V. Davis and my reading skills are 100. So what the license plate had been reported stolen? My life is much more important than a shoplifter in a stolen vehicle. The Officers over-reacted and could have killed someone in the process!

Friday, March 08, 2013 at 4:40 PM
Might Be said...

By the mans description it might be Dennis Rodman LOL

Friday, March 08, 2013 at 12:22 PM
said...

U mean that u guys out the public in danger I've a shop
Lifter smh

Friday, March 08, 2013 at 11:47 AM
To V Davis and Thomas said...

In the article, it says that the license plate had been reported as stolen. That means that there was much more to this driver than a simple shoplifting charge. Stolen license plates are often placed on stolen vehicles or vehicles that have no business on the roadway for one reason or another. Please read the entire story before commenting.

Friday, March 08, 2013 at 10:43 AM Thomas said...

The law enforcement was driving 80-120 mph to apprehend a shoplifter. He did not murder anyone. He didn't kidnap anyone. He stole junk from WalMart and the law enforcement is going to chase him at 80-120 mph. What is wrong with this? Are you putting the public in danger to apprehend a guy who steals some WalMart junk. Evidently these officers have had no one to chase in a long time and just had to go for it to bring down the modern day Al Capone. Then after all that...he got away.

Friday, March 08, 2013 at 9:19 AM V Davis said...

Why would officers risk the lives of others by continuing the chase at those speeds....for a shoplifter????

Friday, March 08, 2013 at 8:53 AM
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