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Woman fleeing police dies in head-on crash

By Steve Huffman
shuffman@salisburypost.com
A Coolemee woman fleeing police was killed in a traffic accident in northern Rowan County early Monday.
Elizabeth Michelle Deese, 32, died shortly after the head-on collision. Trooper C.J. Doty of the N.C. Highway Patrol said the 1997 Chevrolet Cavalier that Deese was driving west on Needmore Road crossed the center line and hit a 2004 Ford Expedition that was coming east.
Doty estimated the Cavalier was traveling approximately 100 mph at the time of the crash. The Expedition was driven by Alexesius Blackwood, 23, of Mooresville.
Doty said there was a man and a 4-year-old boy in the Ford with Blackwood. Injuries to the three were minimal, Doty said, all treated and released from Rowan Regional Medical Center.
“They were extremely lucky,” he said. “They had some angels with them, that’s for sure.”
Doty said Coolemee police had been advised Sunday to be on the lookout for Deese, who wasn’t authorized to drive the Cavalier that belonged to John Miller of Mocksville.
Doty said a Coolemee officer spotted Deese, recognizing both the woman and the car. When he attempted to stop the woman, she fled, traveling U.S. 801 south into Rowan County, then turning right on Needmore Road.
Doty said the Coolemee officer said he was traveling more than 100 mph during the chase, but Deese was pulling away from him even at that speed.
Doty said the accident happened at Needmore Road’s intersection with Mount Vernon Road. The trooper said there’s a sharp curve at the accident site.
Doty said Deese’s car was completely in the lane of the oncoming vehicle at the time of the crash. He said Deese wasn’t wearing a seat belt, but was not ejected from the vehicle.
Doty said the length of the pursuit totaled about 4 or 5 miles in Rowan County and a short distance in Davie County.
Doty said Deese was alive for a brief period after the accident and a rescue helicopter was summoned. But she died in the back of an ambulance as she was being carried to meet the helicopter.

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