Suspect succumbs

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 14, 2008

NORFOLK, Va. – A Bertie County man whose attempt to elude capture last month ended with him slamming into a tree at high speed has died in a hospital.

Irish Lyngil Howard, 39, of Kelford, a suspect in two attempted murders in Bertie County, died March 9 at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, according to the Virginia State Police.

He was flown to the hospital with a broken leg and head injuries after he crashed into a tree in Smithfield on Feb. 18. He had fled when police attempted to stop him in his car near Southampton Meadows trailer park.

Howard was wanted by the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office on two counts of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, along with breaking and entering, following a Feb. 16 assault in which an unrelated man and woman were attacked with a knife in the woman’s home near Colerain.

Howard was immediately named as the suspect in that attack, prompting Bertie lawmen to issue a “be on the lookout” warning for him and his vehicle.

His 2006 gray Nissan Sentara was spotted Feb. 18 in Southampton County. When Virginia State Trooper J.A. Brown Jr. and Southampton County (Va.) Sheriff’s Capt. J.B. Stutts attempted to stop the vehicle at the intersection of Route 189 and Route 690, Howard fled, leading police on a 22-minute chase through Southampton, Suffolk and Isle of Wight, according to the Virginia State Police.

The vehicle reached speeds of up to 80 miles per hour during the pursuit through Southampton, Suffolk and Isle of Wight. The chase ended when Howard lost control of his vehicle on Waterworks Road in Smithfield and ran off the road, striking a tree.

(R.E. Spears III is a Staff Writer with the Tidewater News in Franklin, Va., a sister publication of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald.)