'I almost lost my life in a matter of seconds:' Witnesses describe Raleigh police pursuit that ended in fiery crash

Josh Chapin Image
Tuesday, August 14, 2018

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) -- A wild police pursuit where a Raleigh police officer fired shots at a suspected stolen vehicle ended in a fiery crash in Raleigh on Monday afternoon. The suspect -- identified Tuesday as 22-year-old Ronie Demitri Hyman -- is now facing several charges.

In court Tuesday, Hyman's own attorney said the man is a danger to himself and the public.

"We've been trying to figure him out for a couple years and we haven't quite gotten there," said assistant DA Howard Cummings.

Cummings said Hyman has suffered from a severe mental illness for years.

Now he's charged with Larceny of a Motor Vehicle, Felony Speed to Elude, Hit and Run, and Careless and Reckless Driving.

The chase Monday ended on Western Boulevard near Gorman Street.

Ronie Hymna
Credit: CCBI

Raleigh police said it began when officers spotted a car that had been reported stolen from the 1000 block of North King Charles Boulevard and attempted a traffic stop shortly before 4:30 p.m.

The vehicle fled and an officer on scene fired his service weapon during the incident, police said. It wasn't immediately clear why the officer fired. The driver wasn't hit by any rounds and continued to flee until the crash on Western Boulevard, not far from NC State's campus.

"It was just a beautiful day to ride the motorcycle," said William Gay, who was headed to downtown Raleigh on his bike when he was caught in the middle of the pursuit. "I ended up seeing a GMC Terrain and the SUV going into and out of lanes. Then I saw a lot of cop cars coming."

Gay, like other witnesses, saw the GMC hit various road signs before it caught on fire.

"As the guy gets out, there were a lot of guns pointed at him," Gay said. "There weren't just pistols either."

Keesh Jackson was driving by Pullen Park. Next thing she knew, she said she had to swerve out of the way to avoid the car Raleigh police were chasing.

"He was about to hit my passenger side, so I had to move out of the way some," Jackson said. "Every time he turned, the police turned so it was like I just in a circle. I couldn't go anywhere. I was scared because I almost lost my life in a matter of seconds."

Jackson saw the car on fire and watched as the man was taken out of the car, placed on a stretcher and taken away by ambulance to WakeMed.

The investigation is ongoing, police said.