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DOWNTOWN MAYHEM

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The destruction of four vehicles downtown Sunday. (David Conner II photos)
SoVaNow.com / January 01, 2018
A high-speed chase Sunday morning led from Person County, N.C. to downtown South Boston and ended with the destruction of four vehicles, one belonging to the Virginia State Police.

The driver was finally apprehended when his vehicle crashed into two parked vehicles on Wilborn Avenue across from the old Leggett building.

Arrested was 43-year-old John Hunter Alexander of 139 Maple Lane, Amherst, who was charged with eluding police and assault of a police car. The 2006 Ford Expedition used in the chase was owned by Melissa Ann Laughorn of Rustburg.

Virginia State Police picked up the trail Sunday morning from the Person County Sheriff’s Department, which began the high speed pursuit after reportedly seeking a suspect with outstanding warrants against him.

The man, driving a black Ford Expedition, sought to elude police at speeds reported in excess of over 100 miles per hour.

State Trooper D. T. Spencer was pursuing the speeding vehicle as it crossed the median at the intersection of US 501 near East Hyco Road. The State Police cruiser was stopped there when the Expedition sped past the left side and struck the front end of the police cruiser.

Spencer was able to continue the pursuit of the Ford Expedition as it continued down River Hill into the 501-58 intersection at Riverdale.

Despite damage to at least two tires from spikes that police placed in the roadway, the Expedition continued moving at a rapid clip up the wrong way on Wilborn Avenue in downtown South Boston. The vehicle then struck an unoccupied, parked 1999 Honda owned by William Dean Watts. That vehicle then struck the rear end of another unoccupied, parked 2003 Cadillac owned by Haislip Dental Lab. A fire hydrant was also knocked over in the 11:54 a.m. crash.

At that point, the suspect fled the scene on foot, heading into a nearby alley, but Spencer pursued him and was able to make the arrest after a short chase. The suspect was taken to the local emergency room for treatment.

Alexander reportedly suffered only minor injuries, but the chase claimed four vehicles, all totaled. The Ford Expedition he was driving sustained estimated $7,000 damages; damages were $5,000 to a 2013 Ford Taurus State Police cruiser; $6,000 to Watts’ Honda and $7,000 to the Haislip Cadillac.

Traffic along Wilborn Avenue in the Town of South Boston had to be detoured away from the scene as clean-up of the crashes took over an hour to complete.

State Police Sgt. J. A. Smith investigated the incident.

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