Man arrested after high-speed chase
By Shavonne Potts
What began with a clerk getting suspicious about a man buying small of amounts of gas every hour at a convenience store led to a high-speed police chase.
Roy Lee Hartford, 43, of 13925 U.S. 52 South, Gold Hill, faces charges including felony aggressive driving, misdemeanor vandalism to real property, willful and wanton injury, misdemeanor display of a fictitious, revoked or suspended registration, speeding 15 mph or more over the speed limit and reckless driving.
A clerk at the Rushco convenience store at the corner of Jake Alexander Boulevard and Klumac Road told authorities that over a period of three or four days, a man had been to the store numerous times and bought less than $2 worth of gas each time.
On one of the days, the man came to the store and bought 75 cents or $1.25 worth of gas every hour or so from midnight to 5 a.m., a report said.
An officer found the car the clerk had described parked in the parking lot of Hampton Inn. Inside were clothes and letters with Hartford’s name on them. The car was registered to another man, Miguel Ramirez, of Kannapolis. The suspect was not around.
An officer spotted the suspect’s vehicle, five days after the clerk told police, at a convenience store on Innes Street and signalled for him to stop.
The driver took off, making multiple turns and running through stop signs and red lights at speeds exceeding 85 mph, police said.
After speeding along Newsome Road and Park Avenue, and tearing through a yard on Bringle Ferry Road, he ran off the left side of the road at 814 Wesley Drive and jumped out of the car. The officer chased him on foot a short distance into nearby woods. The suspect fell down and was apprehended.
The whole chase lasted about six minutes, a report said.
Hartford was placed in the Rowan County Detention Center under $2,500 secured bond. He has since been released.
Police had no explanation for Hartford’s gasoline purchases at Rushco.