One killed in police chase, suspect sought

Pamalee Drive and Cain Road in Fayetteville (Chopper11 HD)

January 6, 2010 8:55:55 PM PST
Once person is dead after an early morning police chase ended with a crash.

Fayetteville police said Wednesday morning's incident began with a complaint call about a man looking into vehicles around 5 a.m. Shortly after that call, police received a call from a woman who said her husband was following the suspect.

Officers responded to the area and witnessed the suspect driving a silver Ford F-150.

A chase began after the suspect refused to stop for officers. Investigators say the suspect was driving close to 90 mph.

Police said they followed the vehicle towards Pamalee Drive and Cain Road. Additional officers in patrol cars, with blue lights turned on, blocked the intersection to help control traffic and try to prevent other vehicles from being struck.

While at the intersection, police said a Chrysler PT Cruiser did not yield to the officers and proceeded through the intersection on a green light. That's when the pickup truck hit the car.

The driver of the car, John Velandra, was pronounced dead at the hospital, and the suspect fled the scene on foot.

The suspect was later identified as 24-year-old Percyful Junior McIntyre. Authorities are still searching for searching for McIntyre.

Police say he will be charged with second degree murder, felony speeding to elude, larceny of a motor vehicle, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, and felony hit-and-run.

Velandra's wife says the accident happened no more than a mile from their house.

Velandra was a personal trainer. His wife says he was going to open the gym at Highland Presbyterian Church when he was involved in the wreck.

"He's big, beautiful and adoring and he loved his people, his clients, his trainers," Velandra's wife Nivia Velandra said. "The staff like it was his family."

Nivia Velandra says her husband didn't know any strangers. He loved her and his church family.

"He's just this big guy who just had a heart for people, a heart for health and fitness and nutrition and seeing people succeed," Nivia Velandra said.

Velandra was supposed to teach a fitness class at the church Wednesday night, but people are gathering at the church to celebrate his life.

According to the Designs in Fitness Web site, Velandra served for more than a decade in the military.

Shortly after the traffic accident, the owner of the Ford called to report that his vehicle had been stolen.

The Fayetteville Police Department's Traffic and Homicide units are investigating the case, and a criminal investigation is ongoing.

The department also is conducting an administrative investigation per department policy. The officers involved in the chase will be placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the administrative investigation.

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