Cocaine chase

Published 10:13 am Tuesday, November 14, 2017

WINTON – A Murfreesboro man remains jailed here, held under a $500,000 bond, after a large stash of cocaine was recovered following a high-speed vehicle chase in his hometown on Nov. 4.

Hertford County Sheriff Dexter Hayes reported the arrest of 26-year-old David Casillas, who resides on East Woodrow School Road. Casillas stands charged with 19 felonies: two counts of trafficking cocaine; one count each of possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine, and marijuana; four counts of maintaining a vehicle to store a controlled substance; five counts of flee/elude arrest with a motor vehicle; and six counts of assault with a deadly weapon. He was also charged with seven misdemeanor counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, and a traffic violation of driving with a revoked license.

In the aftermath of a high-speed chase in Murfreesboro, the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office seized 255 grams of cocaine and nearly $1,800 in cash. | Contributed Photos / Hertford Co. Sheriff’s Office

According to the arrest report, 255 grams of cocaine were seized along with five grams of marijuana. Also, at the time of his arrest, Casillas had nearly $1,800 of cash in his possession.

His arrest came a short time after Casillas was observed operating a vehicle on Main Street in Murfreesboro at around 8 p.m. on Nov. 4. Hertford County Sheriff’s Detective Chase Oliver, who was patrolling Murfreesboro at that time, made the observation and was aware that Casillas was not supposed to be operating a vehicle due to his driving license being revoked.

Upon Oliver activating his blue lights and siren on his vehicle to perform a traffic stop, Casillas sped off in his vehicle in an apparent effort to elude arrest.

The resulting pursuit, at times reaching speeds of 60-plus mph, involved several Murfreesboro streets, to include Main, Liberty, Spring Avenue, Williams, Fifth, and Broad.

On four occasions, Oliver stated that Casillas purposely attempted to slam on brakes in front of the law enforcement vehicle, allegedly in an attempt to prompt an accident, leading to possible damage to the officer’s vehicle.

On another occasion, while the pursuit was on Main Street – where Oliver stated that Casillas was swerving his vehicle and running other vehicles and pedestrians towards the curb – the officer said the pursuit became very intense.

“I was attempting to use the center (turn) lane to get by him and cut him off, but he swerved and tried to run me into oncoming traffic,” Oliver noted.

David Casillas

At another point in the pursuit, at the intersection of High Street and Spring Avenue, Oliver said he witnessed Casillas toss a brown paper bag out the driver’s side window. At that point of the pursuit, Hertford County Sheriff’s Captain Jesse Fennell had joined in. Fennell stopped and retrieved the bag, which was later searched and found to contain 255 grams of cocaine, stored in two separate plastic bags.

The pursuit ended at the entrance to a graveyard off Broad Street. At that point, Oliver said he performed a maneuver with his vehicle that resulted in a collision.

“This (maneuver) was necessary to end the pursuit at this point, therefore preventing possible injury to other motorists and/or pedestrians,” Oliver stated.

There was extensive damage to both vehicles. The North Carolina Highway Patrol was summoned to investigate the collision.

Sheriff Hayes said Oliver made the correct decision to end the pursuit.

“It was a dangerous pursuit, and the suspect had no regard for the motorists that were on the road. I am thankful that no citizens or law enforcement officers were injured during this pursuit,” Hayes stressed.

The Sheriff added, “This is an example of hard work and dedication by the men and women of Hertford County Sheriff’s Office. I would like to thank Captain Fennell and the Murfreesboro Police Department for their help with this apprehension. Our law enforcement family works well together.”

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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