Arrests pending in M’boro chases

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 7, 2007

MURFREESBORO – One chase led to another early Saturday morning.

Murfreesboro Police Chief Darrell Rowe said warrants have been drawn and are waiting to be served on two Murfreesboro men who fled from law enforcement officers in two states.

One of the two suspects, Dexter Beale Jr. of Tyler Road, is currently behind bars in Southampton County, Va. He is being held there on numerous traffic violations stemming from a vehicle chase that began in Murfreesboro and ended near Franklin, Va. on U.S. 58.

The other suspect, Shaun Stefanelli, also of Tyler Road near Murfreesboro, is currently being sought by Murfreesboro and Southampton County authorities.

Rowe said the incident began at approximately 4:40 a.m. on Saturday when Murfreesboro Police Lt. Joe Burgess stopped a Toyota Camry for a motor vehicle violation. Burgess reported the driver to be Beale. He added there were three passengers in the vehicle, which sped off as Lt. Burgess was standing next to the driver’s side window.

Rowe said the suspect vehicle headed north on U.S. 258. As it crossed the Meherrin River bridge, items were seen being tossed out a passenger’s side window. Murfreesboro Police Officer Chris Firkel, who was summoned for assistance, stopped and retrieved the items n a .357 magnum handgun, 28.8 grams of marijuana and a set of scales.

Meanwhile, Lt. Burgess continued to pursue the Toyota with Officer Firkel rejoining the chase. As the suspect vehicle drew closer to the state line, Lt. Burgess contacted the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) to advise them of the situation.

The pursuit eventually made its way into Virginia. There the Toyota turned onto Virginia Route 189 and proceeded to U.S. 58 where it headed east towards Suffolk. The vehicle made a u-turn and headed west on U.S. 58 back towards Franklin. At some point, SCSO officers performed a PIT (Precision Immobilization Technique) and were able to spin-out the suspect vehicle.

The four individuals in the vehicle surrendered, but only Beale was jailed in Virginia. Rowe said the three passengers face charges in North Carolina and warrants have been issued for their arrest.

After the suspect vehicle was stopped, Rowe said a Dodge Durango bearing Indiana plates stopped at the scene where the driver got into a verbal altercation with Virginia authorities. That vehicle fled the area and Virginia officers lost contact during the chase.

Rowe reported a short time later after his officers had returned to Murfreesboro, one spotted the Dodge vehicle in question.

“We attempted to perform a traffic stop on that vehicle, but it, like the first vehicle, fled,” Rowe said. “We pursued the vehicle towards the state line, but my officers said they decided to back off the chase due to the erratic nature in which the driver was operating the vehicle.”

Rowe added that the SCSO was contacted again and, to his knowledge, they picked-up the chase as the vehicle crossed into Virginia.

“We were able to identify the driver of the Dodge as Mr. Stefanelli,” Rowe said. “Our investigation of him here on our end led us to information that he resides at the same Tyler Road address and is related to Mr. Beale.”

Chief Rowe said the best news to come out of both chases was the fact that no one was injured.

“My officers handled things by the book,” Rowe said. “They acted in a professional manner, especially in the second chase where the erratic and dangerous driving by the suspect led to a decision being made to call off the chase.”