HILLSVILLE, VA — An Austinville man has pled guilty to attempted capital murder in Carroll County relating to a 2016 police chase in which he rammed into a deputy’s car and nearly struck another head-on.
Kevin Nelson Beasley, 28, pled guilty on May 9 in Carroll County Circuit Court to attempted capital murder, hit and run, eluding a law enforcement officer, and grand larceny of a motor vehicle stemming for two separate police chases in September of 2016.
Carroll County Commonwealth’s Attorney Nathan H. Lyons said Beasley pled guilty without agreement, meaning Lyons and Beasley’s defense attorney Jonathon Venzie could not agree on what an appropriate sentence would be.
“He had a jury trial scheduled in July and he did not want to face a jury,” Lyons said. “He made the determination to plead guilty and argue his case to the judge for what the sentence should be.”
Beasley is scheduled to be sentenced August 14. Lyons said Beasley could face up to a sentence of life-plus 35 years on all charges.
The charges against Beasley date back to Sept. 22, 2016 when Carroll County Sheriff J.B. Gardner said his office passed along a tip to Wythe County Sheriff Keith Dunagan that Beasley was at his house in Austinville and was believed to be the person who stole a vehicle the night before from Photo Lane, just off Mt. Zion Road in Woodlawn, before ramming a Carroll County Sheriff’s Office vehicle head-on, leading to a manhunt that lasted throughout the next day.
According to Dunagan, Beasley wasn’t at the Austinville residence when deputies arrived. They learned from Gardner that Beasley may have stolen a second vehicle, a Mitsubishi pickup truck, from Photo Lane sometime around lunch on Sept. 22. Two Wythe investigators noticed the stolen Mitsubishi near Austinville around 11:20 a.m. the following day on Walton Furnace Road near the Carroll/Wythe county lines.
“When the investigators attempted to take the driver into custody, he fled, leading them in a vehicle pursuit that lasted 3.1 miles. The pursuit was terminated when the suspect wrecked over a bank,” Dunagan said at the time of the incident.
Dunagan said after a brief scuffle, deputies took Beasley into custody. Beasley was charged at the time in Wythe with reckless driving, felony eluding law enforcement, resisting arrest, and operating a vehicle without a license. He was also served with a Capias for failing to appear in Wythe County General District Court.
The two-day episode began when members of Gardner’s office received a report of a possible stolen car on Photo Lane on Sept. 21, 2016. Deputies responded to the scene and located a car matching the description of a gray Pontiac that had been reported stolen in Galax.
“As deputies proceeded down Photo Lane, a one-lane dirt road, the Pontiac accelerated at a high rate of speed, missing one deputy car, but striking another deputy car head on,” Gardner said at the time. “The damaged deputy car was driven by Cpl. Seth Greer. After striking Cpl. Greer’s car, the Pontiac struck a wooden porch on a home, then sped down the road almost striking another deputy car head-on. Cpl. Greer was able to get out of his car and fire his weapon into the stolen car.”
Gardner said the stolen Pontiac was able to continue onto Mt. Zion Road, heading toward Mill Hill Road, and fled down a driveway, behind a residence, through a field and traveled some distance off the road. Deputies gave chase on foot but were unable to locate the suspect in the heavy undergrowth and thick woods.
Gardner said K-9 teams were called in from the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Galax Police Department, Grayson County Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia State Police. A State Police helicopter was brought in, but was unsuccessful in its search because of fog. Cpl. Greer was transported to Twin County Regional Hospital where he was examined, treated and released.
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on [email protected]