A Mount Airy man was arrested Friday and charged in conjunction with what Patrick County, Virginia, Sheriff Dan Smith called an “extremely dangerous” high-speed pursuit that resulted in a deputy’s car being overturned earlier this month.
George Lee Bombe, 54, of 1001 Mitchell St., was arrested Friday on charges of felony eluding a law enforcement officer and driving on a suspended or revoked operator’s license, according to the sheriff.
The charges stem from a Dec. 10 incident in which Bombe allegedly fled police, leading them on a chase from Patrick County into North Carolina, then back into Virginia, where the pursuit ended in a wreck.
The Dec. 10 incident “began at approximately 8 p.m. when Master Deputy Winfred Hill attempted to initiate a traffic stop on a suspicious vehicle on Trucker Drive in Ararat,” Smith gave in a written statement released late Friday afternoon. “The vehicle failed to stop for the deputy’s blue lights and siren, and fled at speeds in excess of 90 mph on Ararat Highway.”
Smith said the pursuit crossed from Virginia into Surry County briefly, then back into Virginia on Willis Gap Road.
“Bombe was driving extremely reckless and erratic and appeared to be intentionally driving into oncoming traffic, nearly colliding with multiple different vehicles in both Virginia and North Carolina,” the sheriff said. “Once back into Virginia, Hill made the decision to end the pursuit by initiating a PIT maneuver on the 2005 Chevy Tahoe that Bombe was operating.”
A PIT, or Pursuit Intervention Technique, is a maneuver in which the pursuing officer attempts to hit the fleeing vehicle in the rear quarter panel, causing that vehicle to spin sideways, with the driver hopefully losing control.
“Bombe’s driving had become so dangerous to the general public that he had to be removed from the highway,” the sheriff said.
When the deputy attempted the maneuver, Bombe’s vehicle crashed into some farm equipment and Hill’s patrol car overturned in the middle of Willis Gap Road. Bombe fled on foot at that point. Smith stated that Hill sustained minor injuries and was treated and released later from Northern Hospital of Surry County.
Although the suspect was able to escape that day, Smith said his department continued collecting evidence over the past twelve days it believes identifies Bombe as the driver of the Tahoe. He also indicted that the vehicle and all of its contents had been impounded as evidence.
As of late Friday Bombe was being held on a $5,000 bond awaiting trial in Patrick County General District Court. Smith stated that he has been in contact with the N.C. Highway Patrol about the potential of charges being brought against Bombe in North Carolina.
The investigation is continuing, and anyone with information on the case is asked to contact Sheriff Smith at 276-692-7012 or Investigator Tyler Wilson at 276-692-5123.