Woman faces multiple charges after fiery crash blocks I-295
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
Jan 16, 2013, 11:40
contributed photo A North Carolina resident is facing charges ranging from reckless driving to narcotics with intent to distribute after Saturday’s crash.
What started as a routine traffic stop on Saturday morning ended with a car engulfed in flames, a police pursuit and a woman from Wilmington, North Carolina facing several charges.
At approximately 7:40 a.m. Saturday morning, Hopewell Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Walles pulled over Keisha N. Harrell, 42 for reckless driving. Her car was traveling at 82 mph in a 70 mph zone.
As Walles’s was speaking with Harrell, she fled the scene. Walles immediately put out a call to the Virginia State Police for assistance, asking them to be on the look out for the 2012 Dodge Avenger.
“After a quick minute with her, she chose to leave,” Walles said, describing Harrell fleeing the scene like an arrow. “And, at that point, it was too dangerous to continue....there’s not much you can do when a vehicle takes off like that. There’s nothing else we could’ve done. We have a no pursuit rule. It’s too dangerous.”
Virginia State Police were called to the scene at approximately 7:48 am. The vehicle was found a short time later on the side of the road at mile marker 7 in Prince George County. After running off the right side of the roadway and striking the guardrail, the Dodge re-entered the travel lanes where it struck a tractor-trailer causing the Dodge to catch fire.
“It was a horrendous wreck I thought,” Walles said of the scene that morning. He said Harrell was lucky to still be alive after the crash. There were no other injuries associated with the events of that morning.
After the crash, Harrell fled on foot. The Prince George County Police Department arrived on scene and assisted in establishing a perimeter around the scene. A canine assisted in the search for the suspect. Harrell was located approximately 90 minutes later by the Prince George Police Department.
Harrell is now facing several charges, including felony hit and run and possession of narcotics with the intent to distribute. She was also charged with misdemeanor obstruction of justice, not having a driver’s license, and reckless driving – failure to maintain proper control.
Harrell was transported to the Riverside Regional Jail where she is currently being held without bond. Her arraignment was scheduled to take place Monday in the Prince George County General District Court.
There were no other injuries in the crash and the investigation into the incident remains on-going.
Despite the events of Saturday morning, which closed all Southbound lanes of travel for approximately one hour, Harrell was cooperative during her very brief traffic stop, Walles said.
“She was very cooperative and sweet,” Walles said. “She just didn’t have good judgement.”