A short motor vehicle chase in Wilkesboro Saturday morning began as a shoplifting incident and ended with a wreck.
Wilkesboro Police Officer A.M. Toombs reported that he and Sgt. Philip Brown went to Walmart on U.S. 421 in reference to a shoplifter about 8:15 a.m. Saturday.
Toombs said a Walmart assistant manager had told the Wilkes Communications Center that a man was throwing Walmart property he hadn’t paid for in the store’s garden center across a fence. The assistant manager said the suspect had a white motorcycle.
Toombs located a man later identified as Nathaniel Lawrence Bartelson, 23, of Moravian Mill Road, Moravian Falls, on a white 2002 Suzuki motorcycle behind Walmart. When the motorcycle didn’t stop after Toombs activated his blue light, he radioed Brown.
Toombs said Brown saw the motorcycle, activated his blue light and siren and began following it. He said the motorcycle drove through the parking lot at about 45 mph with medium traffic and failed to stop at two intersections, first with Winkler Mill Extension and then with U.S. 421.
Toombs said Bartelson was trying to turn into a westbound lane of U.S. 421 when the motorcycle collided with a westbound 2011 Dodge Ram pickup driven by James Theodore Eckhoff, 54, of East Bend. The pickup received about $3,000 in damage and the motorcycle, which was seized, about $800 in damage.
Toombs said Bartelson rose to his feet after the wreck, walked across U.S. 421, the adjacent grassy area, a service road and then sat down on the front steps of Smart Cuts.
He said Wilkes Emergency Medical Services transported Bartelson to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center for treatment of injuries. He reported that Wilkes EMS stated Bartelson said he had used meth the prior night.
Toombs said Bartelson was wearing a book bag with merchandise worth about $76 stolen from Walmart. Brown located a bag containing paraphernalia with white, crystal substances that tested positive for amphetamines, as well as a green, leafy substance, he added.
Wilkesboro police charged Bartelson with possession with intent to sell and deliver a schedule II controlled substance, maintaining a vehicle for having a controlled substance, reckless driving, unsafe movement causing personal injury, driving while license revoked, driving a vehicle without having it registered, driving without having insurance, having a fictitious/altered tag, failure to stop for a stop sign, failure to yield the right of way, possession of drug paraphernalia, misdemeanor possession of marijuana and other offenses.