Four county chase ends with car crash

Published 9:33 am Tuesday, July 8, 2014

GATESVILLE – What started as a heated exchange during a domestic argument in Gates County ended with a motor vehicle crash in Bertie County on Sunday.

Joseph Alan Baines, 27, of Selwin Road, Belvidere, is being held without bond as he faces numerous charges after covering four counties, at times in excess of 100 mph, in an effort to elude law enforcement officers.

Currently, Baines is formally charged with DWI, simple assault and a domestic violence order. During his first appearance on Monday in Gates County District Court, he was found in contempt (for shouting in the courtroom) and ordered to spend the next 30 days in jail.

Additional charges – to include failing to adhere to a blue light and siren, damage to personal property, and numerous traffic violations – are pending.

According to information provided by Gates County Sheriff’s Lt. Ray Freeman, a woman (identified only as Baines’ girlfriend) came to the Gates County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday morning where she wanted to meet with a magistrate concerning an alleged domestic violence situation.

“I was in the Corapeake area of the county when the dispatcher radioed me saying that a man had also arrived at the courthouse and was beating on the doors before getting face-to-face and shouting at the magistrate,” Freeman said. “I began to hurriedly make my way towards Gatesville, but changed direction once I learned that the irate man, who was now identified as Mr. Baines, had left the courthouse headed towards his residence on Selwin Road near Hobbsville.”

Freeman added that prior to leaving Gatesville, Baines reportedly rammed the vehicle he was operating into a Chevy Trailblazer, co-owned by he and his girlfriend, that was parked at the courthouse. Baines reportedly left Gatesville driving a Ford Mustang owned by his girlfriend.

“I was given a description of the vehicle and his home address and made my way to Hobbsville,” Freeman said. “As I was hunting for the address on Selwin Road, a Ford Mustang blew past me at which time I activated my blue light and siren, but the driver would not stop.”

Baines accessed NC 37 and drove into Perquimans County, eventually making his way to NC 32 in Chowan County.

Freeman gave chase, saying Baines was driving between 90 and 110 mph. Freeman was joined in the chase by deputies with the Chowan County Sheriff’s Office.

“Naturally, I was worried about all the other motorists on the road at that time,” Freeman said. “I was hoping at some point that he (Baines) would run out of gas.”

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

Baines reached US 17 (a four-lane highway) near Edenton and turned south, crossing the Eden House Bridge (Chowan River) and making his way into Bertie County. He turned north onto NC 45 at Midway, heading towards Colerain.

“He was attempting to turn off NC 45 at its intersection with Pine Ridge Road and when he slowed to turn, one of the Chowan deputies used the front bumper of his patrol car to tap the rear of the Mustang, causing Mr. Baines to lose control and his car wound up in the ditch,” Freeman said. “We were able to take Mr. Baines into custody at that point.”

Bertie County Sheriff John Holley said his office was contacted about the chase, but none of his deputies joined in.

“We were not involved in the chase, only alerted that it was headed into our county,” Holley stated.

Freeman praised the efforts of Gates County E911 dispatcher Christina Drewyor.

“She was the most important part of this incident,” Freeman said. “Up front she realized that a possible volatile domestic situation was brewing at the courthouse and immediately advised me of that situation. Then, as the vehicle chase was developing and then during the actual chase, she remained calm and handled her duties professionally by keeping me informed as well as handling the calls to the other law enforcement agencies to make them aware of what was transpiring. She did a great job and needs to be recognized for that.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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