On Feb. 9, a high-speed pursuit across Surry County, N.C., and Carroll County ended with multiple felony charges agains two men, ranging from stolen property and eluding police to drug and weapon violations.
The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office dispatch center received a call that day reporting that the Surry County Sheriff’s Office Street Crimes Unit was in pursuit of a white 2020 Chevrolet SUV northbound Interstate 77, approaching the state line.
“Surry County communications stated the pursuit was initiated after deputies identified the driver as being a wanted fugitive in their jurisdiction, as well as the vehicle being reported as stolen,” said Carroll County Sheriff Kevin Kemp.
Carroll deputies responded to intercept and take over the pursuit when it entered the county. Surry advised the deputies that the suspect vehicle had reached speeds of 130 mph as it came into Virginia, according to the police report.
Between Exit 1 in Lambsburg and Exit 8 in Fancy Gap, Carroll deputies took lead of the pursuit with Surry assisting. Hillsville Police Department was notified of the pursuit set up spike strips at the 12 mile marker of I-77, the report said.
The suspect vehicle exited I-77 at exit 8 and turned on to Chances Creek Road, traveling east towards U.S. 52, then south. At the intersection of 52 and the Blue Ridge Parkway, the vehicle entered the Parkway, turned north towards Roanoke, the report said. The SUV quickly exited on to Lightning Ridge Road, where U.S. Park Service rangers had an unrelated vehicle stopped. The stolen vehicle continued on Lightning Ridge, turned south on to Elk Spur Road and exited into a housing development.
After making several turns in the development, the vehicle came to a dead end and four occupants exited the vehicle. Three suspects — two men and one woman — fled on foot. A fourth person, female, immediately surrendering to law enforcement, the report said.
The sheriff’s department brought its tracking K9, Maverick, to the scene, as well as Virginia State Police K9, while a perimeter of the surrounding area was put into place.
Maverick began a scent trail from the vehicle and, after a short track, located the first subject, who was hiding in a small creek, the report said. Marquis Anthony Whitlock Hodges, 37, of Mount Airy, N.C., was taken into custody without incident. He was wanted in Surry County for narcotic violations.
Deputies conducting perimeter patrols on Bear Trail Road observed a man and woman in the wood line parallel to Bear Trail Road, the report said. The state police K9 team responded to that location and a short time later both subjects were taken into custody without incident.
The male suspect, Zachary Brian Willis, 35, of Mount Airy N.C. — identified as the driver during the pursuit — was wanted for probation violation in North Carolina and was identified as the driver of the vehicle during the pursuit.
The woman taken into custody with Willis also was wanted in North Carolina, Kemp said, but for in-state pick up only, so she was released.
The SUV, reported stolen from Greensboro Airport, was recovered and returned to the owner, Avis Rentals.
Willis was charged with felony eluding police, possession of stolen property (the vehicle), possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, possession of drug paraphernalia, reckless driving, driving without a license and being a fugitive from justice.
Hodges was charged with possession of a Schedule II drug and being a fugitive from justice.
Both were transported to the Carroll County Magistrate’s Office and at the conclusion of a bond hearing, both were held without bond pending arraignment in Carroll County General District Court. More charges are expected in Surry County stemming from the pursuit.
In a news release, Kemp said he was proud of the work put in by his deputies and K9 teams, and “these results contribute to a strong working relationship built between the surrounding jurisdictions working together to get results for our citizens.”
Kemp thanked all the agencies that assisted or were involved — Surry County Sheriff’s Office, Hillsville Police Department, U.S. Park Service, Virginia State Police and Carroll County Fire & Rescue.