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‘PIT’ stop

WINTON – As is sometimes the case, a good, strong front bumper is better than a wickedly fast sports car.

That was the case near here Thursday evening.

An Ahoskie man faces a bushel basket full of charges after he attempted to elude the North Carolina Highway Patrol by traveling nearly 140 mph on the new four-lane stretch of US 158 between Winton and Murfreesboro.

Joe Ernest Vaughan, 61, of Ahoskie was arrested after his 2005 Jaguar sports car was disabled due to a successful “PIT” maneuver performed by NCHP Trooper A.S. Genao. PIT – or Precision Immobilization Technique, is a pursuit tactic employed by law enforcement by which a pursuing car can force a fleeing car to abruptly turn sideways, by lining the front wheels of the pursuit car with the rear wheels of the fleeing vehicle, and then gently making contact before steering sharply, causing the driver to lose control and stop.

Genao said he initially clocked Vaughan’s vehicle at 68 mph in a 55 mph zone on US 13 in Gates County, approximately two miles north of the Chowan River bridge shortly before 5:30 p.m. Vaughan was traveling south on US 13 at that time.

“I activated the blue lights and siren on my vehicle in an effort to stop the Jaguar for speeding, but as I approached the vehicle it began to significantly increase its speed,” Genao said. “After crossing the (Chowan River) bridge, the Jaguar exited off of US 13 onto US 158 West.”

Genao said the pursuit lasted a few miles at which time the driver of the Jaguar crossed the median and reversed his direction – now traveling on US 158 East back towards Winton.

“By that time, (NCHP) First Sgt. (Mike) Warren and (NCHP) Trooper J. Archer had arrived and took a position on US 158 East to deploy the stop sticks,” Genao said. “However, the driver of the Jaguar saw the flashing lights on their patrol cars and turned around, headed west on US 158, but doing so in the eastbound lanes of travel.”

Genao said it was at this time that the driver dramatically increased his speed to 139 mph.

“He was driving at that speed and into oncoming traffic,” Genao said. “I decided at that point that the driver posed too much of a danger to the motoring public and I disengaged from the chase by cutting off my blue lights. I remained in the westbound lane in an effort to continue to follow the Jaguar.”

Genao added that once Vaughan returned his vehicle into the westbound lane, he again activated his blue lights and picked-up the chase.

“Once he (Vaughan) attempted to return to the eastbound lane, I performed the PIT maneuver; that caused his vehicle to impact the cement barrier at one of the intersections, which caused the oil pan on his vehicle to burst,” Genao noted. “That slowed him down a bit, but he continued to travel west in the eastbound lane, but this time there was no oncoming traffic in sight and I was able to perform a second PIT maneuver, which completely disabled his car. We were able to make the arrest at that point.”

Genao charged Vaughan with 11 citations, to include felony speed to elude arrest, speeding 139 mph in a 55 zone, careless and reckless driving, felony failure to heed a blue light and siren, driving while license were revoked, possessing an open container of alcohol, and injury to personal property, among other charges.

Vaughan was jailed under a $25,000 secured bond and was scheduled to make his first appearance on Friday in Hertford County District Court.

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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