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Farmville man nabbed after wild chase

SoVaNow.com / June 26, 2017
A Farmville man is under arrest after slamming his vehicle into three police cruisers during a lengthy, high-speed chase Friday night in Halifax County.

The suspect, Stephen Lovelock of Farmville, has an extensive criminal record, according to online court reports in Prince Edward County, and now he faces multiple additional charges that include two counts of attempting to maliciously wound police officers.

One of the alleged suspect’s victims was Halifax County Sheriff’s Sgt. Craig Spencer, whose vehicle was struck head-on as the chase unfolded. Spencer was shaken up but not seriously injured, while other county and town officers who took part in the wild chase were not harmed.

The HCSO cruiser that was struck head-on during the pursuit was totaled, said Sheriff Fred Clark, and Spencer “had minor aches and pains” and was out of work on Saturday. He was due to return to work Sunday night, said Clark.

Lovelock, meantime, was in the hospital at last report, recovering from his own injuries after the mayhem-filled night. He is believed to be 38 years old or thereabouts.

The incident began Friday, around 10:15 p.m. when South Boston Police Officer Dennis Blanks Jr. observed a 2000 Chevrolet Tahoe swerving into the opposite lane of travel on Berry Hill Road. After seeing the vehicle swerve several times — once almost going off the roadway to the right — Blanks attempted to stop the driver.

The vehicle slowed but then sped up to around 80 mph, and Blanks initiated his siren and began pursuit of the Tahoe.

The suspect vehicle continued to travel at high speeds along Union Church Road, Mountain Road, Chatham Road, Swain Road and back onto Mountain Road before turning right onto Sinai Road.

Along the way, according to SBPD reports, the driver threw a baggie containing a powdery substance out of the window. The Tahoe also nearly struck a sheriff’s vehicle as more officers with the South Boston and Halifax County departments joined the pursuit.

The deputy driving the HCSO vehicle was able to avoid the collision with the Tahoe — although other officers would not be as fortunate as the chase proceeded.

As the speeding Tahoe approached Sinai Elementary School, the driver swerved into the school parking lot and ran over an embankment. After careening back into Sinai Road, the Tahoe continued on to Greens Folly Road, reaching the intersection with Halifax Road and then turning northbound into the southbound lane of the four-lane highway.

It was at that point the Tahoe turned sharply into the Valero Spirit corner gas station and collided head-on with the HCSO cruiser operated by Spencer.

The SUV disengaged from Spencer’s vehicle and then struck another sheriff’s department cruiser that had closed in.

Still moving, the Tahoe made it across Greens Folly Road and into the parking lot of Greens Folly Crossing Shopping Center. As the vehicle was still moving, the driver jumped out and started running. The Tahoe continued forward and struck a third Sheriff’s Office vehicle.

As he was being pursued by officers, the suspect — later identified as Lovelock — threw a second baggie containing a powder substance, according to South Boston police reports. Police were able to catch up with Lovelock and place him under arrest.

Officers found what are believed to be illegal narcotics and drug paraphernalia on Lovelock’s person and inside the vehicle. Lovelock complained of injuries and was taken to Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital for treatment by the local rescue squad. He was still being treated for non-life threatening injuries on Sunday.

Lovelock has been charged with multiple offenses, with more charges likely on the way. He was arrested on counts of disregarding/eluding signals from law enforcement, attempting to maliciously cause injury to law enforcement (two counts), property damage to law enforcement vehicles (three counts), driving under the influence of a narcotic drug, reckless driving, resisting arrest, and driving while license suspended/revoked with six or more prior offenses.

Additional charges may be filed depending upon results of lab analysis of the suspected illegal narcotics seized by law enforcement officers.

In Prince Edward County, Lovelock has been convicted of numerous offenses over the past decade, including attempted grand larceny, distribution of cocaine, assault and battery and parole violations.



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