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Six injured in chase, shootout in Clinton

Posted September 3, 2012
Updated September 4, 2012

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— A high-speed chase and shootout early Monday in Clinton sent six people to the hospital, including a husband and wife whom authorities said were innocent victims in the chaos.

Clinton Police Chief Jay Tilley said the incident started as a dispute between two groups of people at a "backyard club" and ended with one party chasing the other, a violent crash and gunfire about 4:30 a.m. on N.C. Highway 24, near the overpass of U.S. 421.

One of the cars slammed into a utility pole, causing a widespread power outage in the area. The power was restored by noon, but the roadway remained closed as authorities continued to investigate the scene.

Tilley said the parties were chasing each other when the first car rammed the back of a black pickup truck occupied by a couple who "were going home this morning and happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time."

The impact flipped the truck onto its side and into the utility pole.

When the second group arrived, Tilley said, they began exchanging gunfire with the first.

"We don't have crime like this very often," Tilley said. "Being involved in a major crash and then the next thing you find yourself – not only are you in this crash – but you're in the middle of a shootout. I'm not sure I can think of a worse experience for a motorist." crash closes 421 Six injured in Sampson County crash, shootout

"I've seen some major accidents here, but nothing like this," said Bobby Ammons, who lives nearby.

The couple – identified as Ray and Cassandra Cuvilje of Harrells – along with four others were taken to Sampson Regional Hospital with injuries.

Ray Cuvilje was treated and released. His wife was transferred to WakeMed, where she was in critical condition. Investigators said Cassandra Cuvilje had to be cut from the truck.

The extent of the other injuries wasn't immediately known. Tilley said the Cuviljes were not shot, but two people involved in the chase were.

Police are still searching for the occupants of the second vehicle, who fled the scene.

The State Bureau of Investigation is assisting with the case.

Authorities said more details will be released when they become available.


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  • storchheim Sep 4, 2012

    "One incident does not a warzone make."

    More like a savage jungle.

  • bushido2298 Sep 4, 2012

    "Backyard Club"?? SO they're partying all night till 4am???? So no one had to go to work the next day?? Silly me, they don't work but thay have the money to party all night and buy weapons....SMH

  • jherring Sep 4, 2012

    These folks came to Clinton from the County at a high rate of speed. It's impossible for any law enforcement to expect that at any time of day. I applaud the Clinton Police, Sheriff, and HP for a great job processing the massive crime scene and arresting those involved quickly. The others involved better look over your shoulder.

  • justabumer Sep 4, 2012

    Yep, it's the fault of the police. If there had been an officer patrolling every street in the area this wouldn't have happened.

  • kermit60 Sep 4, 2012

    Don't blame the police. Chances are that they were illegals and we all know how well the feds are dealing with that. Or they already have records are on probation or parole. It's not the police, they don't decide on sentances or decide to let theses people out.

  • Glock Ranger Sep 4, 2012

    I know! Let's make everybody police officers. That way the police would be able to be everywhere at the same time!

  • thepeopleschamp Sep 4, 2012

    "Sounds like Clinton needs to up its patrol standards.. If the cops had been patrolling more they would have noticed those individuals sooner and may well have prevented the innocent bystanders from being injured..." torchhappysean

    A place the size of Clinton I'm guessing only has 3-4 officers on at a time, if that. What "patrol standard" is there that can have 3 guys be everywhere at once? If 2 officers are on a call then 1 officer should be able to see the entire town and everything happening in it? I didn't realize the expectation of a Clinton Police Officer was to be omnipresent.

  • Glock Ranger Sep 4, 2012

    It's not the Wild Wild West, or a war zone. It's right out of the movies. It's a Hollywood fantasy! No one got killed, or injured. The props will be set back up, and we'll run another take.

    I'm surprised nobody has asked why this couple was out at that time of the morning. Where were they coming home from at that hour? Surely, it was all their fault. If they had been home, in the bed, asleep, none of this would've happened! They got in the way.

    My favorite is: "Police, where are you?" That's the best one. Not even a mention of the usual "We gotta get the guns off the street."

  • torchhappysean Sep 4, 2012

    Sounds like Clinton needs to up its patrol standards.. If the cops had been patrolling more they would have noticed those individuals sooner and may well have prevented the innocent bystanders from being injured...

  • icmfal Sep 4, 2012

    I feel as though time has regressed and I am now living during the period of the Wild Wild West era.