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Grieving Mother Wants to Talk to Cop Involved in Fatal Chase

Posted December 3, 2007
Updated December 4, 2007

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— A mother who lost two of her children in a crash stemming from a high-speed police chase in Franklinton wants to hear from the officer involved in the chase.

A 13-mile police chase ended Saturday with a head-on collision and three people dead. Linsay Lunsford, 18, and her 9-year-old sister, Maggie, were killed when their Kia crashed into a Pontiac driven by Guy Christopher Ayscue, 38, of Henderson.

Mary Ann Lunsford, the girls' mother, said police need to take a look at how the chase was handled. She also said "the whole thing needs to be revamped."

Ayscue was being pursued by Franklinton police Officer Michael Dunlap. Earlier, Dunlap noticed Asyscue driving erratically on N.C. Highway 56. Dunlap tried to stop Ayscue using his lights and siren, but Ayscue drove off, police said.

Surveillance video from a Franklinton convenience store, released Sunday, showed Ayscue speeding through a stoplight on the wrong side of the road.

“The vehicle came into Franklinton at a high rate of speed, driving very carelessly and erratic,” said Franklinton Police Chief Ray Gilliam.

Police said the chase continued for 13 miles, with Ayscue speeding into oncoming traffic several times, including one time when he narrowly avoided a car driven by North Carolina Sen. Doug Berger.

Ayscue was traveling north on U.S. Highway 15 and went to pass another vehicle in a no-passing zone when his vehicle crashed head-on into a 1999 Kia with Linsay and Maggie Lunsford inside. Both siblings and Ayscue died in the accident.

Liz Lee, Linsay and Maggie's sister, said she wonders whether police should have continued the chase for as long as he did.

"They killed her. They took my sisters and I'll never get to touch them again, and that is one thing I can't deal with right now," she said.

Police estimate that Ayscue was traveling 90 mph at the time of the crash. Police consultant Jon Blum, who was not involved in the accident and subsequent investigation, said he believed the chase became too dangerous to pursue.

"The sooner you can stop it from happening, that's the best way you can go," he said.

Police said they believed Dunlap followed proper procedure in the chase.

“As of now, we have not found anything in violation or infraction of violating the policy as it stands now," Gilliam said. "But then again, we are still conducting interviews, not only with the officer but witnesses, too.”

Lunsford said the family would like to talk to Dunlap directly to find out from him what happened.

Dunlap has served less than two years on the Franklinton police force. He is on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into the chase and crash.

Funeral arrangements have been made for Linsay and Maggie Lunsford. A visitation will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Gentry, Newell and Vaughn Funeral Home in Oxford. A funeral is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Mount Energy Elementary School, where Maggie was a fourth-grader. The family will have a private burial Thursday.

Franklinton Town Attorney Mitch Styers was expected to brief the Town Council on the chase at 6 p.m. Monday. He said this type of briefing is routine anytime the town could be sued.

Donations for the Lunsford family may be sent to:

Lunsford Family
c/o Stem United Methodist Church
P.O. Box 10
Stem, NC 27581

299 Comments

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  • Jh5230 Dec 5, 2007

    here is the link to another tragedy like this that just happened in AZ.

    http://www.kpho.com/news/14783554/detail.html

  • NC is my home Dec 4, 2007

    It is a tragedy, but the law enforcement officer is not to blame. Ayscue, who was failing to stop for a police car in pursuit is to blame. He murdered those girls just as he endangered the lives of others who were forced off the road. God bless the girls' family and friends and officer who in the course of his official duties was involved.

  • l-rae17 Dec 3, 2007

    denbull - you must not know of Creedmoor po-pos very well. SOME of them aren't much for hard work, except for setting up speed traps and conversing with other cops in parking lots. There's a few good ones, but, whateve.

  • denbull Dec 3, 2007

    If the chase went through the City of Creedmoor why didnt the Creedmoor Police Dept help in this in any way? I know it is a short time frame but the city is not that big either!

  • doubletrouble Dec 3, 2007

    I too believe that the cop was just doing his job...trying to get a reckless driver off the street. I'm sure he is beside himself over what happened, and I'm truly sorry for the family involved. If cops have to break pursuit everytime the criminal gains a high rate of speed, that will be basically a free ticket of freedom for all criminals. The criminal is to blame, not the cop.

    Now, if a cop uses his powers of justice/law to obtain high rates of speed, without being on a call, or in a pursuit...that, is a completely different matter IMHO, and the cop should be held accountable.

  • bullockmb1958 Dec 3, 2007

    If this cop followed procedure it needs to be changed. The punishment did'nt fit the crime especially for those two sisters. GOD BLESS THEM !!!

  • jwp247 Dec 3, 2007

    Here again the system failed...when is someone going to wake up and realize that people belong in jail and not on the streets! Who lets these losers out?? That poor family - had he been locked up where he belonged this would have never happened. It is his fault and his fault alone!

  • rnsjr Dec 3, 2007

    I hope she wants to thank him for doing his job.

  • roxyangel71203 Dec 3, 2007

    First of all... I am a very outspoken person. and it really ticks me off that when cops arent around and someone is breaking the law, the first thing that comes out of your mouth is "Where are the cops when you ned them?" Officer Dunlap was there when someone was breaking the law, and he was doing his job! So no one can say that he wasn't! He was trying to keep criminals off the street, something Ayscues judge obviously knows nothing about.. Come on now. Been in trouble for 10 plus years, yeah, he needed to be locked away for a lil longer and none of this would have happened.Officer Dunlap was doing his job that he was sworn in to do "PROTECT AND SERVE" and that's all there is to that. Most people in their right and sober mind, when you see blue lights you slow down and pull over-BUT NO-he wanted to be a bad a$$! And look where it got him-2 young innocent girls dead, along with himself.If he wasnt driving like a maniac, then none of this wouldve happened.BLAME THE CRIMINAL,NOT THE COP!

  • rpd911 Dec 3, 2007

    The officer is NOT the guilty party. The suspect was already driving irratically on the wrong side of the road. Had the officer said, "wait a minute, he's driving too crazy I better not chase him", and the suspect crashed and killed someone; you naysayers would be out to get the police officer for NOT doing something. You can never get what you want, someone is always wrong to you. Police are definitely in a danged if you do, danged if you don't career. They make decisions in a split second based on training and experience that you people would never even fathom of making. Simply put, the officer was right to chase him. The suspect would have crashed anyway. The investigation into the suspect is still ongoing and I'm sure we'll find out more about his wrong doings. For now, leave the officer alone, let him continue to do his job. If you can do better, then you go sign up.

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