Local News

Attempt to outrun police lands man in hospital

Posted February 14, 2012
Updated February 15, 2012

Raleigh and Garner police chased a man Tuesday afternoon after he fled from an officer who tried to arrest him on outstanding charges.

The chase and subsequent wreck closed lanes briefly on Interstate 40 East near U.S. Highway 70.

According to Raleigh police, officers spotted a car belonging to Stephen Earl Purnell parked behind a building on Poole Road. A check showed Purnell was wanted for driving with a revoked license and speeding. When he returned to the car, officers tried to arrest him, but Purnell hopped in the car and sped off.

Garner police picked up the chase as Purnell headed east on I-40. They said Purnell's car eventually blew out a tire near mile marker 307 and flipped. He was taken to WakeMed, but he was expected to recover from his injuries.

Purnell now faces new charges based on Tuesday's chase including assault with a deadly weapon on a law enforcement officer and felony speeding to elude. He will be arrested after he is released from the hospital and booked into the Wake County Jail.

34 Comments

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  • leo-nc Feb 16, 2012

    "I am not the one to determine where the line should be drawn."---

    Exactly. Say no more.

  • LocalYokel Feb 15, 2012

    Officers let a bad driver with a revoked license get in a car and drive? and then they pursued at high speed risking injury to the public?

    yeah, that sounds like our local no-good police departments.

  • rasclayton Feb 15, 2012

    " I was shocked of the charges he was being chased for and the lives that were put in danger!! rasclayton"

    Once he decided to flee and pinned the officer, it was no longer a speeding charge that caused the chase.
    rescuefan

    So he pinned the officer...I agree it was no longer for just the speeding charge..He was running people off the road and the cops still continued to chase him! Lives were in danger on both sides of 40 highway yesterday afternoon. I guess you had to be there in the middle of it like I was and you would understand. You think he killed someone the way he was being chased. I am not the one to determine where the line should be drawn...but yesterday my life flashed in front of me...for what?? Sorry, but when others motorists are involved the police need to determine the danger of other citizens.

  • not my real name Feb 15, 2012

    maybe str8huggin should read the story again....you must have missed the part where they spotted his parked car and waited for him to return......dang ppl.

  • dwntwnboy Feb 15, 2012

    For the folks saying they shouldn't go after someone for this charge- where do we draw the line? What charges are "worthy" of pursuit by police to catch a criminal? If you are wanted, you are wanted- it's not up to the police to determin guilt or innocence, they just haul ya in and let the courts decide the rest. Don't commit crimes, don't be wanted by the police and they won't chase you- seems like a fairly simple concept. If we stop chasing people because they go fast, every criminal will try and outrun the cops to get away.

  • sabby06 Feb 15, 2012

    "Read the story again. He was in his car, behind a building. I'd like to see you put a boot on a wanted persons car. Have fun with that. str8t***gin February 15, 2012 10:12 a.m."

    Str8t***gin---the story says they tried to arrest him when he returned to the car, indicating he was not IN the car.

  • rescuefan Feb 15, 2012

    " I was shocked of the charges he was being chased for and the lives that were put in danger!!
    rasclayton"

    Once he decided to flee and pinned the officer, it was no longer a speeding charge that caused the chase.

  • dwntwnboy Feb 15, 2012

    Smart of the police- if they arrest him now, the bill for the hospital is on them, if they wait til he is released, the bill is all his! Way to save us some cash there RPD!!! :-) My mother worked in a hospital ER and said it was common for police to do this so the hospital bill wouldnt be billed to the police as a "prisoner" visit.

  • Scubagirl Feb 15, 2012

    ah, dwr1964---you beat me to it ;-)

  • rasclayton Feb 15, 2012

    I was literally in the middle of this yesterday. I came on 40 via 70 ramp. Looked back in my rear view and saw several unmarked cars with blue lights flashing. I immediately returned back to the right lane to allow them to pass. Little did I know the 'suspect' was doing the same to get around me in the left lane. He was a few inches from my bumper when he swung back into left lane. His tire blew out when he got in front of me! SCARY situation. Then to make matters worse there was a trailblazer stopped to 'look' at the police officers running across 40 with guns pulled and a tractor trailer fast approaching us. I pulled into the right shoulder..I am still amazed that no one was hurt on either side of 40..It was too close for me and I am thankful he did not hit anyone. I thought maybe the 'suspect' was being chased for murder/bank robbery. I was shocked of the charges he was being chased for and the lives that were put in danger!!

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