Stolen-car chase climaxed by crash in city

By Tom Joyce - tjoyce@mtairynews.com
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A pursuit of a stolen vehicle which began in Carroll County, Virginia, Tuesday morning came to a jarring conclusion with a two-car crash in Mount Airy after “stop sticks” were deployed to end the chase.

No injuries resulted from that collision occurring about 9 a.m. at the intersection of U.S. 52 and U.S. 601, according to city Police Chief Dale Watson. The driver of the stolen car, Jeramy C. Lipps, 28, of Etowah, Tennessee, was taken into custody and faces numerous charges in both North Carolina and Virginia.

A 16-year-old girl who had been reported missing was found unharmed in the stolen Nissan Maxima along with a dog. The juvenile had been reported missing in McMinn, Tennessee, on Aug. 15, according to the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office. A check on the Nissan revealed that it was stolen in Knox County, Tennessee.

The Carroll Sheriff’s Office has issued charges against Lipps including grand larceny of a vehicle, felony leaving the scene of an accident, felony fail to stop for a police officer, felony abduction of a child, felony child neglect, felony assault on a police officer, three counts of felony destruction of property, three counts of felony destruction of a police vehicle, misdemeanor destruction of property and numerous traffic violations.

In addition to the crash in Mount Airy, near the Wendy’s fast-food restaurant, the man being chased caused other wrecks just north of the city and in Carroll County.

About 10 to 15 different officers from multiple agencies converged at the collision site at U.S. 52/601 where the suspect was taken into custody, Watson said.

Began on Interstate 77

The affair had unfolded about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, when Carroll County Deputy Trevor Carico was running radar on Interstate 77 and a vehicle passed by him at a high rate of speed, according to information from Sheriff John B. Gardner.

Deputy Carico stopped the vehicle at the 16.5-mile marker and as he was approaching the car, it drove away.

The officer called for assistance and initiated a pursuit of the car, which left I-77 at Exit 8 and turned left on Chances Creek Road toward U.S. 52. The car continued north on that highway toward Hillsville at a high rate of speed, then entered Hillsville and turned right onto Old Racetrack Road.

The pursuit progressed on that road to its dead end.

Cpl. Rocky Dalton had entered the pursuit and at one point pulled up beside the Nissan in an attempt to get the driver to stop, but he rammed Dalton’s vehicle and continued to flee.

The car then ran through a yard and two chain-link fences and into a cow pasture.

It also went through several other fences before coming back out onto Old Racetrack Road heading toward U.S. 52. Several attempts were made to use spike strips to stop the car and to box in the driver, who made it back to U.S. 52 and turned south.

The pursuit continued down Fancy Gap Mountain, where it was joined by Deputy Cory Smith. Near the state line, Smith struck a pickup and went through a field across the road, hitting a light pole.

After the pursuit continued on U.S. 52 from Virginia and into North Carolina, the driver of the stolen car went between two vehicles traveling south, wrecking both of them.

As the chase progressed down the four-lane U.S. 52 through Mount Airy, the stop sticks were placed in the southbound portion just north of the U.S. 601 (Rockford Street) intersection.

All four tires on the Nissan were deflated as a result and the vehicle went out of control. Initial reports indicated that it then collided with a passenger car that had been northbound and was making a left turn at the intersection to head in the direction of Dobson.

However, later information revealed that a car which was southbound making a left turn to go toward the hospital was struck instead.

City police and N.C. Highway Patrol units pinned the Nissan, forcing the driver to stop.

While the collision resulted in damages but no injuries, Lipps was taken to Northern Regional Hospital, the police chief said.

He was being held later Tuesday in the Surry County Jail.

Some charges also are anticipated in Mount Airy and Surry County against the suspect, Watson said.

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By Tom Joyce

tjoyce@mtairynews.com

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.