21-mile car chase ends safely
by Tom Chillemi
Several law enforcement departments converged on Route 17 north of Saluda to corral a suspect who led police on a 21-mile high-speed chase Thursday, September 17, reported Middlesex County Sheriff Guy Abbott.
According to Sheriff Abbott, at about 9:14 p.m. a Mercury Marquis with Florida tags blew past Deputy Adam Miller’s marked patrol car at about 95 miles per hour, heading north on Route 17.
With Deputy Miller in pursuit, Captain R.C. Green, who was near Saluda, raced north and joined the chase about two miles from the Essex County line. The suspect was running at speeds between 60 and 115 miles per hour.
Attempts had been made to stop the large car, which is the same size as patrol cars, by bumping it from the rear. However, the suspect kept going. Once in Essex, a Virginia State Trooper deployed spike strips to flatten the vehicle’s tires. Although the suspect’s speed was then reduced he continued north towards Tappahannock.
Several patrol cars assembled at Bray’s Fork (Routes 17 and 360) to prevent the suspect from entering Tappahannock, where there is more traffic and pedestrians could have been in danger.
As the chase continued north on Route 17, Captain Green gave the command to “pit” the vehicle, whereby a patrol car pushes on a rear corner to spin it out. Due to safety concerns, the pit maneuver could not have been attempted when the suspect was travelling at a high speed, Sheriff Abbott explained.
Deputy Miller tried to pit the vehicle several times and finally spun it out. Police took the driver into custody about 9 miles north of the Middlesex-Essex county line just before Dunnsville.
Taking part in catching the suspect were three Middlesex deputies and Sheriff Abbott, two state troopers, four Tappahannock police officers, and a King and Queen County deputy.
Captain Green said the chase was “a textbook pursuit with no one hurt and very little vehicle damage.”
“It’s a very good feeling when all neighboring jurisdictions pull together to protect life, limb and property,” he said.