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Police chase ends safely with arrest of Florida man

by Tom Chillemi

Video courtesy of the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office.  (Edited by Mike Kucera)
Several law enforcement departments converged on Route 17 on Thursday, September 17, to corral a suspect who led police on a 21-mile high-speed chase that started near Saluda and ended in Essex County, reported Middlesex County Sheriff Guy Abbott.

According to Sheriff Abbott, at about 9:14 p.m. a Mercury Marquis with Florida tags raced past Deputy Adam Miller’s marked patrol car at a high rate of speed, heading north on Route 17.

The suspect allegedly passed Deputy Miller near Zion Branch Road about a mile north of Saluda. Deputy Miller paced the suspect’s car at 95 miles per hour and then initiated a traffic stop near Warner Road (Route 603). However, the suspect ignored Deputy Miller’s flashing lights and siren.

With Deputy Miller in pursuit, Captain R.C. Green, who was near Saluda, raced north and joined the chase about 2 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 police 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 reduced with the flat tires, he continued north toward Tappahannock.

Several patrol cars assembled at Bray’s Fork in Essex County (Routes 17 and 360) to prevent the suspect from entering Tappahannock, where there is more traffic and a possibility that 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 traveling 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.

Chauncey Diijon Fleming, 41, of Rockledge, Florida, has been charged with felony eluding of a police officer, and reckless driving by speed.

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.”

This is an update to a previous article:  21-mile car chase ends safely.

posted 09.22.2009

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