A Carroll County grand jury has indicted a Bedford, Virginia, man on multiple charges relating to the March 9 death of Carroll County Deputy Deputy Curtis Allen Bartlett.
The deputy was killed when his cruiser crashed into a tractor-trailer while on his way to assist other deputies in a high-speed pursuit.
Joseph Alan Lambert, of Goodview, Virginia, was indicted on charges of law-enforcement officer killed as a result of a pursuit and reckless driving causing the death of another in the March 9 traffic death of Bartlett.
Prior to the crash that claimed Bartlett’s life that evening, Carroll County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant W.R. Lyons attempted to stop the four-door sedan Lambert was allegedly driving after clocking the vehicle traveling at 87 mph on Interstate 77. The speed limit in that portion of the highway was 65 mph.
According to the sheriff’s office, the sedan did not stop, instead exiting onto U.S. 58, driving west, then turning onto Airport Road in an attempt to elude the law enforcement officials.
“The car continued through a field, struck a fence, and eventually made its way into the backyard of a nearby residential neighborhood where it finally stopped,” the sheriff’s office said in a written statement. “The driver, Joseph A. Lambert, 22, of Goodview, then fled on foot, but was apprehended moments later.”
During that chase, Bartlett responded, attempting to reach the chase to assist with the pursuit when he slammed into a tractor-trailer at the intersection of U.S. 58 and I-77. He died at the scene.
According to the sheriff’s office, the tractor trailer was only moving at 25 mph at the time of the incident, having just turned left onto U.S 58, and had the green light for the turn. The driver, described as a 59-year-old male from Barren Springs, Virginia, was not able to see the deputy’s cruiser, despite the fact its siren was on and lights flashing.
That driver was not injured and was not charged in the incident.
Bartlett had been with the sheriff’s office nearly four years at that time, having joined the office in June 2013. Bartlett had extensive experience in private security and served as an infantry soldier with the U.S. Army from November 2004 to July 2007. Prior to joining the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Curtis also served a year as a patrol officer in Albemarle, North Carolina.
Two other people were in the vehicle Lambert was driving at the time of the chase. However, when the car came to rest, they did not attempt to flee, and were not charged in the incident. The sheriff’s office did not release their names.
Lambert was initially charged with one felony count of eluding police that results in the death of a police officer, possession of marijuana, reckless driving, and driving on a suspended license. He was also wanted on outstanding warrants in Salem, Virginia, at the time of the Carroll County chase.
It was not immediately clear when his trial would be set.