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During chase, ‘God was looking out for us’

SoVaNow.com / April 03, 2013
Suspects behind the wheel tried to elude police in two separate incidents this weekend, with both chases coming to an end when the drivers lost control of their vehicles.

Around 7:45 p.m. Friday night, Brodnax Police Sgt. J.E. Carey Sr. stopped Shontel Lereysheo Byrd, 31, of Charlotte, N.C., for speeding just west of Main Street on Highway 58 in Brodnax. While standing near Byrd’s vehicle, a rented Cadillac SUV with Tennessee plates, Carey said he detected an odor that appeared to be marijuana.

“[Byrd] became nervous and agitated, as I was questioning him, and he took off,” Carey said. He added that during much of the ensuing chase, the two were driving at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour, with Byrd weaving in and out of traffic, on and off the road. “At one point on I-85 it was worse. Byrd was doing more than 120 miles per hour.”

Carey pursued Byrd to La Crosse, then through South Hill and down to Bracey and back to South Hill. Joining him in the chase were deputies from Mecklenburg and Brunswick counties, South Hill Police, and Virginia State Troopers.

The chase, which Carey said seemed to last longer than the actual span of 17 minutes, crisscrossed eastern Mecklenburg and western Brunswick counties, up and down I-85, Highway 58 and US 1.

At one point, State Troopers attempted to stop the suspect by deploying spike strips, but Carey said, somehow, he was able to get around the obstacles.

Byrd finally lost control of his vehicle while heading north on US 1 when he tried to turn onto Evergreen Road. The car rolled over several times, and a passenger in the speeding vehicle was ejected.

The passenger, a female, was transported to MCV Hospital in Richmond by med-flight. Carey said he had not received a status report on the woman’s condition as of Monday afternoon.

Byrd suffered minor injuries and was treated at Community Memorial Healthcenter in South Hill. He was then released to police custody. Carey charged Byrd with felony eluding police and speeding in Brunswick County and felony eluding in Mecklenburg. He added there are other charges pending from both the State Police and South Hill Police.

“I have been in law enforcement for over 34 years, 25 years working the roads [and] I never experienced a chase like that. Fortunately no one aside from Byrd’s passenger was injured and there was no property damage” — aside from Byrd’s vehicle, which was totaled. “God must have been looking out for us,” Carey said.

The case remains under investigation.

Also this weekend, 42-year-old Tristan Bell, of Brodnax, also attempted to elude police. This incident took place Saturday night around 9:00 p.m. near La Crosse.

According to a report filed by State Trooper R. A. Stiltner, Bell lost control of his 2008 Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle on Blackridge Road near the intersection of Canaan Church Road in La Crosse. While attempting to elude the trooper, Bell ran off the road to the left and struck an embankment.

Bell was not injured, but his motorcycle sustained $2,500 in damages, Stiltner estimated.

Bell was charged with eluding police.

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