Pot, stolen gun seized in traffic stop

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 10, 2003

MURFREESBORO – Three Virginia residents were arrested Saturday night and a fourth remains at large after a &uot;routine&uot; traffic stop took a potentially dangerous turn.

Murfreesboro Police Chief Darrell Rowe praised his officers for their professional handling of the situation, but pointed out that it could easily have taken a nasty turn.

Officer Daniel Vaughan stopped a vehicle near the Murfreesboro Inn at 2:26 a.m. Saturday on suspicion that the driver was driving while intoxicated.

There were four people in the vehicle, two males and two females, so Vaughan called for assistance while he spoke to the driver in his patrol car.

Officer Brian Futrell responded to the scene and instituted a search of the vehicle after being given permission to do so by the driver, but when he called to Vaughan that he had found something under the seat, the driver of vehicle bolted from the patrol car and ran away from the scene.

Rowe said Vaughan gave chase for a couple of blocks, but decided to return to the vehicles because Futrell had been left alone with three drug suspects.

Rowe said Futrell had discovered &uot;a large amount of marijuana&uot; under the seat of the car during his initial search, so after Hertford County Sheriff’s deputies were called to assist with the prisoners and the search for the driver, the search of the vehicle resumed.

During this search, Rowe said officers found a 9-mm Beretta handgun stuffed beneath a cushion. Subsequent investigation revealed that the gun had been stolen in Newport News.

All three of the occupants of the car were charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of stolen goods.

Reginald Williams, 39, of Newport News and Amber Green, 18, of Hampton, Va. were both jailed in Hertford County under bonds of $42,500 each.

The third suspect, Arnesha Carpenter, 24, of Hampton, was also charged with concealing a handgun and was jailed under a $45,000 bond.

Rowe did not reveal the name of the driver, who was still on the run, but said he is being actively sought.

&uot;I commend Officer Vaughan and Officer Futrell for their handling of this situation,&uot; Rowe said. &uot;And I want to reiterate how thankful I am that nobody was hurt in this vehicle stop.

&uot;Obviously, it could have been much more serious,&uot; said Rowe, &uot;but that is one of the hazards these officers deal with on a daily basis.&uot;

Rowe also expressed thanks to Sheriff Juan Vaughan and his department for responding to the scene so quickly and rendering assistance.