Local News

Highway Patrol: Officer Followed Procedure In Fatal High-Speed Chase

Posted April 11, 2005

— A Cumberland County man is dead after a high-speed chase that ended on Interstate 95.

Police said it all started before 5 a.m. Saturday when an officer approached a car parked behind Southview Baptist Church in Hope Mills.

As the officer was entering information about the car into a computer, police said the person in the car -- Juan Villegas -- took off in his car and headed onto I-95.

The officer followed Villegas in his car. At one point, the chase reached 95 mph.

Police said Villegas' car ran off the side of I-95, leaving nearly 400 feet of tire impressions before he slammed into a concrete barrier.

Police said Villegas died at the scene. Evidence at the scene showed that the man never even hit the brakes. According to the state Highway Patrol, the police officer was following proper procedure.

The officer was not part of the accident, but he is on leave pending an investigation, which is standard procedure.

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