Sheriff Donnie Harrison in car chase

March 23, 2008 9:00:00 PM PDT
Sheriff Donnie Harrison was working at a drunk-driving checkpoint late Saturday night when he quickly found himself in his patrol car chasing a driver who tried to avoid the checkpoint.

The chase weaved through three counties.

Sheriff Harrison says he leaves the office here most nights and hits the road to patrol a bit.

But it's rare that he has a weekend like he did this past weekend.

Sheriff Harrison stated, "The guy just didn't want to stop."

Late Saturday evening, Harrison was working at a checkpoint to catch drunk drivers, south of Garner at Ten-Ten and Old Stage roads, when he says a man approached and did a u-turn to avoid the deputies.

The chase began. Harrison was in one of three cruisers in pursuit. "The guy actually about a mile up the road, three-quarters of a mile up the road, pulled over and stopped. We thought we had him stopped, then a passenger got out, and he took off again before we could get up to the car," stated Harrison.

Harrison says the man, later identified as Frederick Douglas Rich, headed south on Old Stage, crossing through Johnston and then into Harnett counties, where he turned onto NC 55 and kept going through the town of Coats, then Erwin, where stopsticks punctured his tires and ended the chase.

Speeds mostly stayed in the sixty to seventy mile per hour range. It felt like old times to Harrison, who was with the highway patrol for decades before becoming Sheriff.

Harrison commented, "It is just like playing sports. The adrenaline kicks in, but you've gotta put in perspective what's actually going on too, this is something that's dangerous."

Harrison says the chase procedure was followed and no one got hurt.


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