A suspect wanted in Cumberland County for removing his ankle bracelet while under house arrest faces new charges after he led Sampson County and Dunn Police on a wild car chase Tuesday morning.
According to Sampson County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Marcus Smith, deputies took 40-year-old Christopher Neil Walters of Fayetteville into custody around 6:02 a.m.
He is charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a government official and one count each of possession of a stolen motor vehicle and felony fleeing to elude with a motor vehicle.
He also faces misdemeanor charges of reckless driving to endanger, failing to stop at a stop sign, failure to wear a seat belt and driving left of center.
He was also charged with driving while intoxicated.
The chase began with Dunn Police in pursuit of Mr. Walters, a chase that continued into Sampson County.
According to Lt. Smith, Mr. Walters was supposed to be on house arrest in Cumberland County, but had cut his ankle bracelet off earlier in the morning and was on the run from authorities.
The driver and a passenger in the pursuit are also accused of stealing the vehicle — a 2016 Chevy Silverado pickup — from a gas station in Fayetteville while the owner of the vehicle was inside paying for fuel.
“The driver’s actions indicated to officers that he was severely impaired and disengaging from the pursuit and allowing the driver to continue would only further endanger the lives of innocent drivers on the roadway,” Lt. Smith said.
Two attempts were made by law enforcement officers to stop the vehicle. After the deployment of stop sticks resulted in a flat tire to the truck, leaving Mr. Walters driving the vehicle on three tires for the remainder of the pursuit, deputies performed a rolling road block.
“This is a maneuver which deputies are highly trained to perform as a last resort to stop vehicle pursuits from continuing,” Lt. Smith said.
During the rolling road block the suspect is alleged to have rammed the rear end of the lead deputy’s vehicle and then tried to force the secondary vehicle off the roadway by sideswiping the deputy’s patrol car.
“After the driver of the stolen vehicle displayed deadly force against our deputies, our deputies responded with equal force and forced the stolen vehicle off the roadway, ending the pursuit on Maxwell Road just inside Cumberland County,” Lt. Smith said. “The driver and passenger were taken into custody and charged. As a result of the driver’s actions towards deputies, two patrol vehicles and the stolen vehicle were severely damaged.”
Mr. Walters was booked into the Sampson County Detention Center under a $352,000 secured bond.
The name of the passenger in the vehicle and the charges filed against them were not available at press time.
“Our deputies go out daily not knowing what dangers they will face by criminals,” Lt. Smith told The Daily Record. “This was an example of just how dangerous law enforcement can be day to day and the risk and sacrifices each officer makes.”
Lt. Smith said the events that unfolded could have ended much worse than they did. He said, thankfully, there were no injuries reported in its aftermath.
“Thankfully, no officers or civilians were injured by the deadly actions displayed by these two fugitives,” he said. “At the end of the day it is our job to hold the line against evil and ensure everyone goes home safe and that’s just what we did.”
Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton also commended his officers on the job they did bringing the suspects into custody and preventing further escalation.
“I am grateful for the outstanding job my officers performed in this high-stress incident where these criminals tried to use their stolen vehicle as a weapon to cause potentially lethal harm to my officers,” the sheriff said. “Vehicles can be replaced, but no monetary value can be placed on my officers’ lives. These officers prevented these criminals and this impaired driver from harming innocent civilians who were on the roadway and I applaud their efforts in keeping the public safe.”