Men involved in weekend car chase are crime spree suspects

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Shavonne Potts
Salisbury PostFour men involved in a weekend car chase and subsequent collision in Salisbury are suspects in a multi-county crime spree, Lexington officials said.The chase began around 7:50 p.m. Saturday when Lexington Police Det. C.M. Wilkey attempted to stop a 2001 Ford Taurus on southbound Interstate 85 near Exit 91. The occupants of the Taurus were suspects in several recent car break-ins in Lexington and began speeding after seeing Wilkey, according to a statement from the police department.
Officers from the Lexington, East Spencer and Salisbury police departments, Davidson County and Rowan County sheriff’s offices and the N.C. Highway Patrol became involved in the pursuit, which last about 10-15 minutes along I-85.
Authorities identified the driver of the vehicle as Wayne Timothy Strong Jr. of Charlotte. His passengers were Otis Steffon Johnson, Jovante Latrez Nash and Darryl Eugene Mills, all of Charlotte.
The suspects’ vehicle, which had been rented in Charlotte, collided with a 2000 Mercury sport utility vehicle driven by Darrell Wilkins, of Lake Wylie S.C., near mile marker 65, just south of China Grove on I-85.
The wreck stopped the Taurus. The SUV overturned in the median after the collision. Wilkins was treated and released from Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast in Concord.
During the chase, Strong nearly ran over a Salisbury Police detective, authorities said.
The four occupants of the Taurus are suspects in a crime spree that spans from Mecklenburg County to Randolph County, the press release said. Charges are pending against the suspects from agencies including the Thomasville and Archdale police departments, Lexington Police Capt. Tad Kepley said.
Authorities say the men are linked to break-ins involving marked Highway Patrol vehicles in Archdale.
“We were able to determine they were involved in break-ins in those areas,” Kepley said.
After the chase:
– Strong, of 2400 Kingspark Drive Apt. F., was charged with speeding to elude arrest; reckless driving; failure to stop for blue light and siren; speeding in excess of 15 mph over the posted speed limit; 14 counts of breaking, entering and larceny from automobiles; two counts of attempted breaking, entering and larceny from automobiles; and five counts of larceny.
Strong was not injured in the crash. He is being held in the Davidson County jail under a $270,000 bond.
– Johnson, of 2607 Celia Ave., was charged with 14 counts of breaking, entering and larceny from automobiles; two counts of attempted breaking, entering and larceny from automobiles; and four counts of larceny.
He is being held in the Davidson County jail under a $260,000 bond.
Johnson was treated and released from Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast.- Nash, of 7008 Red Bud Circle, was charged with 14 counts of breaking, entering and larceny from automobiles; two counts of attempted breaking, entering and larceny from automobiles; and five counts of larceny.
He is being held in the Davidson County jail under a $252,000 bond.
Nash was also treated and released from the Concord hospital.
– Police are seeking Mills, of 3632 Seaman Drive, for similar charges of breaking into automobiles.
According to Kepley, Mills was released after the crash because officials had yet to obtain an arrest warrant for him.
Authorities ask anyone with information on the whereabouts of Mills to contact the Lexington Police Department at 366-243-3303 or CrimeStoppers at 336-243-2400.nnn
Contact Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253 or spotts@salisburypost.com.

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