Police chase suspect not alone

January 19, 2010 9:22:03 PM PST
A man driving a stolen white 2007 Ford Econoline van that lead police on a chase through Raleigh Friday evening faced a judge Tuesday.During 49-year-old John Thomas' first appearance, it was revealed that he was not the only one driving the van.

Friday's chase started when Thomas refused to stop for a license plate violation around 4:30 p.m.

Thomas traveled across I-440, I-40, I-540 and several Raleigh streets for over 30 minutes, before a Highway Patrol trooper threw a tire deflation device in front of the van, causing some of the tires to deflate. He drove a short distance further, then pulled onto a concrete median and surrendered to police.

Not long after Thomas faced the judge Tuesday, another man was called to the courtroom accused of also being involved in the incident.

Thomas told the judge a co-worker was in the van with him when the chase began.

"He didn't know the van being stolen," Thomas said. "What can I do to clear him of this? He's coming in behind me."

"Talk to your lawyer about that," Wake District Court Judge Jennifer Knox said.

The co-worker was Charles Lamb.

Lamb's common-law wife and mother of his three children says Lamb was actually driving the van when the first police officer turned on his blue lights.

She says Thomas was mad that Lamb pulled over.

"It started from there," Lamb's wife Rachelle Bishop said. "John grabbed him and threw him out of the car and took off in the van."

Bishop says Lamb later turned himself in and police hit him with stolen property charges even though he didn't know the van was stolen.

Police say the van he was driving was reported stolen on Dec. 19.

But since he and Thomas both have other pending charges the judge did not reduce their bonds.

Bishop says her sister dates Thomas and that Lamb had been working with Thomas selling scrap metal.

Some of the other charges the two face have to do with stolen items allegedly sold to a scrap yard.

Thomas is already on probation and has a number of other charges pending in Wake County. The prosecutor says Thomas also has a long criminal history in Florida.

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