A small SUV believed to have been stolen in Lenoir was pursued by law enforcement officers from Caldwell County into Wilkes County Tuesday, where it wrecked near Pumpkin Creek Road about a mile off N.C. 268 West in Ferguson around 1:30 p.m.

The small SUV was driven a short distance off Pumpkin Creek Road through dense undergrowth with no road or trail until the front end slammed into the bank of a small creek. The driver exited the pursued vehicle, leaving the motor running, and fled on foot.

Officers searched unsuccessfully for the man until about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, said Capt. A. Wilson of the Lenoir Police Department. The search was focused on a heavily wooded, mountainous area around Pumpkin Creek Road and N.C. 268 West.

Engaged in the search were officers from the Wilkes and Caldwell sheriff’s offices, Lenoir Police Department, N.C. Highway Patrol and N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. A tracking dog from the Caldwell Sheriff’s Office was used.

Wilson said that earlier Tuesday, a Lenoir police officer saw and attempted to stop a vehicle matching the description of a small SUV reported stolen from a residence on Harper Avenue in Lenoir.

He said the chase began when the vehicle failed to stop near the intersection of Harper and Pennton avenues. The chase went on Harper Avenue to N.C. 18 and on N.C. 18 into Wilkes about 1:20 p.m., where it turned onto Beaver Creek Road just past the Wilkes-Caldwell line.

Capt. Mike Scott of the Wilkes Sheriff’s Office said the pursuit continued on Beaver Creek Road until it turned right onto N.C. 268 West and continued eastbound toward Wilkesboro.

N.C. Highway Patrol troopers placed stop sticks - with spikes to puncture tires - on N.C. 268 West, but the pursued vehicle turned right on Pumpkin Creek Road before it reached them.

No additional details were released about the suspect.

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