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Sisters, Suspect Die in High-Speed Police Chase

Posted December 1, 2007
Updated December 2, 2007

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— Two sisters were killed Saturday afternoon after they were caught in the middle of a high-speed police chase that spanned two counties.

The man fleeing police also died in the crash.

The 15-mile chase started in Franklinton on N.C. Highway 56 and proceeded north on U.S. Highway 15 near Creedmoor into Granville County – where it ended.

Franklinton police officer Michael Dunlap observed Guy Christopher Ayscue, 38, of Henderson, driving very erratically in a Pontiac, according to police. Dunlap tried to stop Ayscue using his lights and siren, but Ayscue drove off, and Dunlap pursued.

Ayscue was traveling north and went to pass another vehicle in a no-passing zone on a hill when he hit a 1999 Kia head-on, according to police.

Linsay Erin Lunsford, 18, was driving the Kia with her little sister, Maggie Rose Lunsford, 9, in the passenger seat. The sisters were driving to their father's house after a shopping trip at Wal-Mart.

They were wearing seat belts, according to police, but they did not survive the crash.

Police estimate Ayscue was driving 90 mph when he hit the sisters' car. He also died in the crash.

"There were no skid marks," said patrol Sgt. R.P. Hargrove. "No time to brake."

The sisters were two of six children in their family. Linsay was a student at UNC-Greensboro and was studying to become a teacher, family members said. Maggie, a fourth-grader at Mount Energy Elementary School, won a trophy at a karate tournament earlier in the day Saturday.

Family members of the sisters said they want to know how the chase went so far and why police pursued such a long distance.

“We’ve lost our family members. [The police] felt the need to chase somebody. We don’t even know why they were chasing him, but they killed her. They took my sisters, and I’ll never get to touch them again,” said Liz Lee, the girls’ sister.

Franklinton police said an investigation into the chase is under way.

Franklinton Police Chief Ray Gilliam said Dunlap, who joined the department in 2005 and is the agency's traffic and K-9 officer, was placed on administrative leave with pay, per standard procedure when civilians are seriously injured during police activity.

Franklinton has a police pursuit policy, and they will be checking to make sure that policy was properly followed, Gilliam said. Police said they wish they knew why Ayscue would not just pull over.

Ayscue was to face misdemeanor charges of speeding in court in Vance County on Jan. 3, 2008. Court records show he was charged under state statute 20-141(J1), which covers driving 15 mph over the speed limit or above 80 mph.

The sisters’ family members are trying to find out why a shopping trip had to end so tragically.

“I can’t even describe the loss my mother’s going through right now over something so senseless,” Lee said. “And to take away two people who had so much life and so much ambition and dreams … there just aren’t words.”

258 Comments

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  • bullybreed Dec 2, 2007

    Joker's Wild II-bullybreed - there is no such thing as a "routine" traffic stop.. the guy was driving erratically before he even was behind him, hence... the reason he was trying to STOP him! This officer's actions were in no way inappropriate. I hate it for the family of these girls, but this guy could have EASILY killed them without a cop in site, and then everyone would be up here saying "why didnt the police chase the guy".

    I never stated the officers actions were inappropriate. Just asking, when should a chase be called off or what has to happen for a chase to be called off? Police officers aren't supposed to continue chasing at all costs, are they? Thanks for your biased opinion.

  • Jokers Wild II Dec 2, 2007

    bullybreed - there is no such thing as a "routine" traffic stop.. the guy was driving erratically before he even was behind him, hence... the reason he was trying to STOP him! This officer's actions were in no way inappropriate. I hate it for the family of these girls, but this guy could have EASILY killed them without a cop in site, and then everyone would be up here saying "why didnt the police chase the guy".

  • leo-nc Dec 2, 2007

    ""When someone is breaking in your home with knief or gun take care of it yourself!!"

    I am fully prepared and able to do just that, thank you!"

    ...and when it's all over, you'll be calling the police to come help you. Go figure.

  • abf1 Dec 2, 2007

    I'm sorry for the families and their loss. However, I can't understand why the girl's family feels the need to blame the police in this. Had it not been for the guy speeding down the highway from the cops in the first place, this would have never happened. It's that simple. Unfortunatly, things like this do happen and instead of asking "why", we need to ask "what" God would want us to take from this.

  • bullybreed Dec 2, 2007

    My thoughts and prayers go out to this family. I will not pretend to know the correct protocol for this situation. However there are several questionable issues. This started as a "routine traffic stop". The driver was asked to pull over and fled. For 13 MILES with a police office in pursuit, the driver traveled at excessive speeds, ran a red light on the wrong side of the road, and weaved into oncoming traffic lanes. Remember this was a "routine traffic stop". With that in mind, when would a high speed chase be called off?????? What has to happen for the pursuit to be stopped????? One last note. If you are a fellow officer or related to an officer, please don't post your biased opinion. Let this family grieve.

  • WRALSUCKS Dec 2, 2007

    "When someone is breaking in your home with knief or gun take care of it yourself!!"

    I am fully prepared and able to do just that, thank you!

  • redneckdiva Dec 2, 2007

    My thoughts and prayers go out to this family. May God give you strength to overcome the grief and the comfort of knowing that they are with him now in a much better place!

  • djohns505 Dec 2, 2007

    "What’s needed is a way to understand why people run, and how to convince cops they don’t always have to chase."

    There already is a way to understand why people run, it's called a criminal record!

    It doesn't take many brains to figure out that is someone is trying so hard to try and get away from the cops, then this guy obviously must have done something really wrong that he doesn't want to be caught for, and sure enough there was. This scumbag had a record and he should have been in jail already because of it.

    And what is this about the cops should know that they don't always need to chase. So what is supposed to happen? You let the guy go because he is causing a dangerous situation? So when is he supposed to be caught? I mean come on people, if thats the case then the next time that I'm to be pulled over, I'm just going to keep on speeding until the cops gives up the chase because I'm putting other motorists lives in danger... Really, what is the sense in that?

  • rachelrp20 Dec 2, 2007

    I knew Linsay and Maggie. I played softball with Linsay for maybe seven years. Of course Maggie was always there to watch her big sisters play. They were both truly magnificent people who will be deeply missed.
    And if you have gone through something like this then you know how difficult it is. and if you haven't gone through this then maybe you should be more careful about the comments you leave. Even words from a stranger can be damaging.

  • BLOCKHEAD Dec 2, 2007

    Nancy @ 6:51,

    I wasn't sure how to handle such a comment, I stayed away from that one in my own fear of being too abrasive, I would not have been so nice. Young people have a lot to learn about life, I have sympathy for the loss but not for the ignorance.

    You handled that very nicely, well done !

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