A motor vehicle chase from Wilkesboro to Boone Sunday ended with an arrest but no injuries or property damage, other than a mailbox that was struck and two tires on the pursued pickup flattened by “spike strips.”
Arrested on U.S. 421 in eastern Boone at the end of the 32-mile pursuit was Herman Dean Bowlin, 75, of Walker Lane, Wilkesboro.
Wilkesboro Officer A.L. Hudler reported that he received a call at 7:40 p.m. Sunday about a 1970s model GMC pickup being driven in a careless and reckless manner and was told it was then stationary at the Cookout restaurant drive along U.S. 421 in western Wilkesboro.
Hudler said that when he arrived he saw the pickup pull out from Cookout and swerve slightly on the access road between Cookout and Crossroads Harley-Davidson. He said the pickup turned left onto the middle turn lane of U.S. 421 and was westbound in that lane when it nearly collided with a vehicle on the left side of U.S. 421 near the Dancy Road intersection.
Hudler said the pickup didn’t stop when he activated his blue light and siren near Clayton Mobile Homes. He said that the pickup was swerving in and out of the right lane and he notified the Wilkes Communications Center that he was engaged in a pursuit.
Hudler said the pickup passed Dodge City Steakhouse going about 50 mph and later reached a top speed of 75 mph on the U.S. 421 bridge over Lewis Fork Creek.
He said the driver of the pickup couldn’t maintain lane control and almost sideswiped multiple vehicles. Wilkesboro Sgt. Nathan Wells joined the chase in a secondary position.
Hudler said spike strips placed by the N.C. Highway Patrol on U.S. 421 at the U.S. 221 intersection at Deep Gap punctured the pickup’s right front tire while it was going about 55 mph. With that tire flattened, the pickup started driving on the right shoulder and struck a mailbox.
The pickup continued westbound on U.S. 421, going about 60 mph.
After spike strips placed by the Watauga Sheriff’s Office deflated the pickup’s right rear tire, Watauga deputies took primary positions in the chase as it entered Boone. Hudler and Wells then turned off their blue lights and sirens.
Hudler said the pickup stopped soon afterward at the intersection of U.S. 421 and Innovation Drive.
Hudler said that when Wells asked Bowlin why he didn’t stop sooner, Bowlin said he knew a police officer was behind him but didn’t know why and didn’t see the blue lights.
Hudler arrested Bowlin on charges of fleeing to elude arrest, failure to maintain lane control, failure to heed blue lights and siren and driving left of center.
He said he and Wells saw no indication that Bowlin was under the influence of any impairing substance. Bowlin was placed under a $500 secured bond and his 1970 GMC pickup was towed.
A spokesman for the Watauga Sheriff’s Office said no charges were filed by that agency or by the Boone Police Department.