Police hunting man who ran from stolen car

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 25, 2011

SPENCER — Authorities have released a name and description of the man they’ve been chasing all day in and near Spencer.
Thomas Lee Byrd, 31, is described as 5-feet-11 and 200 pounds. He is listed on the N.C. Sex Offender Registry and has relatives in Davidson County, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office reported.
Law enforcement officers from several agencies have been trying to catch Byrd since he ran from a stolen car after a traffic stop this morning, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Spencer and Salisbury police officers and Rowan County Sheriff’s Office deputies, along with a N.C. Highway Patrol helicopter, are searching the area around Hackett Street and Long Ferry Road.
The suspect is believed to have crossed I-85, and the search includes the service road to the site of the Yadkin River Bridge construction and Stoner Morgan Road. Officers were seen standing at the edge of woods and brush with binoculars waiting for signs of movement. The brush is quite thick in the area.
The incident began around 4:30 this morning when a Rowan County Sheriff’s deputy tried to stop a vehicle, a 1992 Park Avenue, at Charles Street. Instead of stopping, the driver sped up and tried to get away, authorities said.
The car finally stopped at the intersection of Sowers Road and North Salisbury Avenue, where the deputy saw a man get out and run into nearby woods. A woman remained sitting in the car.
Authorities determined the car had been reported stolen in South Carolina. The woman, identified as Julia King, admitted driving the car from South Carolina and told investigators she had only recently met the man. She is charged with possession of stolen property.
Police used a dog to track the man to a junkyard, but could not find him there. Around 8:30 a.m., the county’s 911 center got a call about a suspicious man sitting in the break room at a 1302 N. Salisbury Ave. packaging plant. When police arrived, the man ran.
Authorities on the scene say they believe it’s the same man who ran from the stolen car.