Arrests were made as a result of two different motor vehicle chase cases on Saturday in Wilkes County, with both starting after Wilkes Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to reports of suspicious vehicles.
Ends in Caldwell
One of the chases was on Elk Creek-Darby Road and N.C. 268 in the Ferguson and Yadkin Valley communities. It resulted in the Wilkes Sheriff’s Office charging Andrew Gill Beck, 33, of Friendswood Street, Lenoir, with fleeing to elude arrest, failure to heed lights and siren and reckless driving with wanton disregard for safety of others.
The chase began after a woman reported that a man driving a blue mini-van drove by her residence on Elk Creek-Darby Road multiple times and stopped to ask her where he could buy marijuana Saturday afternoon, reported Wilkes Deputy Ryan Widener.
Widener said he responded to the area of Elk Creek-Darby Road just north of Triplett Town Road about 4 p.m. and had gone about a mile in the direction the caller said the van went when he spotted what he thought was the suspect van stopped on the left side of the road.
Widener said that when he activated his blue lights and siren to stop the van and speak with the driver, the van immediately took off, lost control and nearly wrecked while going about 45 mph in a curve.
He said the suspect regained control of the van and continued to flee until the vehicle stopped in the middle of Elk Creek-Darby Road. Widener said that when he used his patrol car’s public announcement system to order the driver to exit the van, the vehicle took off. It stopped in the middle of the road again and then resumed flight again, mostly driving in the left lane of the two-lane road.
He said Deputy Jonathan Laws joined the pursuit on Elk Creek-Darby Road.
Widener said that while they pursed the van, the driver stuck his arm out the driver’s window while holding a lit cigarette and waving at them. He said a heavy odor of gas was coming from the van and that he believed this was from where the van had struck a deer.
Widener said he lost all radio, cell phone and Internet service shortly after the chase started, but noted that Lt. Gene Wyatt had ordered him to terminate pursuit if it reached the Caldwell County before he lost communication.
Widener said he and Laws had chased the van about two miles into Caldwell County on N.C. 268 before he realized they had left Wilkes. He said they didn’t realize this sooner because communication and computer systems in their patrol cars weren’t functioning.
“As soon as I realized we had made it into Caldwell, I terminated the chase and returned to where our communications systems would function. At the termination of the chase, he said, the suspect was driving about 10 mph and in the center of N.C. 268 while waving at the deputies and smoking a cigarette.
Widener said that shortly after ending the chase, he learned from the Wilkes Communications Center that Caldwell Sheriff’s Office deputies had pursued and had stopped the van with “stop sticks” that punctured its tires. Caldwell deputies had the suspect, identified as Beck, in custody.
Widener met with Caldwell deputies where the chase was ended with stop sticks and was told that Beck had told emergency medical services personnel he didn’t want medical treatment and only wanted to go to jail.
“The Caldwell deputies also advised that the suspect was covered in gasoline and had defecated on himself. There were multiple items throughout the vehicle, which were mainly audio equipment, none of which had been reported stolen at the time,” Widener said.
Widener transported Beck to the Wilkes County Jail, where he was decontaminated and placed in a padded cell for close care observation because he had expressed suicidal thoughts.
He said Caldwell deputies said they would also file charges against Beck.
In Broadway community
The other chase began about 1:30 p.m. after Deputy Cody Mathis tried to stop a car matching the description of a suspicious vehicle reported on Butternut Road in the Broadway community.
Mathis said he activated his blue lights and siren when he met the blue Volkswagen matching the description while turning onto Winding Trails Drive. Mathis said he turned around and was on Breeze Hill Road when the suspect failed to stop and continued on Speedway Road, where the pursued car ran the stop sign at N.C. 115 and nearly hit another vehicle.
He said the chase continued a short distance on N.C. 115 before turning onto Hunter Road, where the pursued driver threw something black out his window. Mathis said he was advised by his supervising officer to cancel the chase when it resumed on N.C. 115.
Mathis said he, Deputy Dudley and Lt. Harper Hartley searched where the suspect had thrown something out the window on Hunter Road and found a 9mm handgun lying in a ditch. The Wilkesboro Police Department with the department’s dog assisted in the search.
Mathis said that later Saturday, he saw two men looking for something where the pistol was found along Hunter Road, He said that based on talking to these two men and others in the investigation, he charged Kolton Dwayne Lane, 28, of D Street, North Wilkesboro, with felony fleeing to elude arrest, possession of a firearm by a felon, two counts of driving while license revoked and having a fictitious tag. Lane was arrested later Saturday.