Local News

Chapel Hill man arrested in Wake County high-speed chase

Posted March 2, 2010
Updated March 4, 2010

— A Chapel Hill man was arrested Tuesday morning after a high-speed chase on Interstate 40 that crossed 22 miles of Wake County, ending on Airport Boulevard in Morrisville.

Wake County chase Tuesday_05 Chapel Hill man arrested after high-speed chase

A deputy stopped a pink 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis for a traffic violation at U.S. Highway 70 and Jones Sausage Road around 8:45 a.m., said Phyllis Stephens, a spokeswoman for Wake County Sheriff's Office.

As the deputy approached, the driver – identified as Randel Levone Riggsbee, 32, of 503 Sykes St. in Chapel Hill – sped away.

The chase went onto Interstate 40 West, where the state Highway Patrol took over. Sky 5 video showed at least nine law enforcement vehicles chasing a pink sedan with a "Hello Kitty" vanity plate. The chase reached speeds over 85 mph.

Raw: High-speed chase on Interstate 40 Raw: High-speed chase on Interstate 40

Stephens said the Mercury ran over stop sticks laid down by troopers and went down the Airport Boulevard exit. The Mercury struck an SUV, then crashed into a guardrail, ending the chase around 9:10 a.m.

Riggsbee jumped out of the Mercury and ran into a wooded area, but officers caught him after a short foot chase, she said.

No one was injured in the chase. The SUV sustained minor damage, and the front window of a cruiser was cracked.

Deputies seized an undetermined amount of cash from the Mercury.

Riggsbee faces 15 charges stemming from the wreck and outstanding warrants in Wake, Orange, Alamance and Randolph counties:

  • felony speeding to elude arrest
  • reckless driving
  • hit-and-run
  • resisting, obstruct or delaying justice
  • giving fictitious information to an officer
  • damage to property
  • exceeding posted speed limit
  • tint violation
  • driving with a revoked license
  • communicating threats
  • breaking-and-entering a motor vehicle
  • felony possession of stolen property
  • misdemeanor drug possession
  • resisting, obstruct or delaying an officer
  • passing a worthless check

He was placed in the Wake County jail under a $148,150 secured bond.

Riggsbee served a one-year sentence after being convicted in 2007 of two counts each of driving while impaired and speeding in an attempt to elude arrest, according to state Department of Correction records.

This was the second high-speed chase in Wake County this week.

On Monday, authorities chased a driver along Interstate 540 from Wendell into Raleigh. Matthew Draper, 24, of 3020 Allenby Drive in Raleigh, was charged in that chase.


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  • FatCat Mar 2, 2010

    Re: "TO those who will berate me for complaining about the state troopers, you did not see how those cars were driving"

    I personally have absolutely no problem with 20 professionally trained high-speed pursuit drivers, taught how to most effectively navigate through traffic at high speeds (e.g. troopers) coming within inches of my car at extremely high speeds for WHATEVER reason they deem necessary, in hopes of catching whom/whatever they feel is that important to pursue, than to have the ONE idiot being chased make it further down the road to where YOUR car might be that gets in the way of the Perp who has absolutely no concern for totally annihilating it along with all its contents/inhabitants, in his selfish attempt at his own freedom.

    WTG LEOs...whatever it takes...serve, protect, pursue, and apprehend. Thank you! And to the rest of you, yes, I fully understand that sometimes, innocent people get hurt. Ya'll just keep putting helmets on your 4 yr-olds on their swingsets.

  • RPD07 Mar 2, 2010

    To eli-

    I have trouble having sympathy for you based on your OWN statement. You say you noticed that the suspect vehicle was "approaching really fast" behind you. If you really did happen to notice him BEFORE he even got all the way up to you, then you should have definitely noticed the police cars with FLASHING LIGHTS and SIRENS coming up behind you as well. You would have had PLENTY of time to pull to the right (all the way, not just one more lane) and come to a stop on the shoulder.

    So, you either exagerated your "story" about what you saw/did or you are an unsafe driver by not being aware of your surroundings while driving. You should always maintain a safe following distance along with checking your mirrors constantly for "hazards". It is also a good idea to always have an "escape" route (i.e. not box yourself in).

    If you do those simple things then you will be a much safe driver and be able to ensure the safety of your 5 month old.

  • anonemoose Mar 2, 2010

    This is third chase....The only way to keep the public safe is keep him in jail.

  • leo-nc Mar 2, 2010

    "Still no answer. Embarrassed? Don't be. I'm just always curious to know what profession people have that can't relate to others. Personally, I would never get on golo and bash how airline pilots do their job because I have never done their job and don't know enough about it to tell them how to do it. However, some people (hint hint) obviously have no problem criticizing jobs they know nothing about."---

    Good luck. You won't get an answer from either hans or journey because that's the way they roll.

  • leo-nc Mar 2, 2010

    "I am not looking to bash the LEO's in this case"--journey985

    That's a lie. You did, and you always will.

  • leo-nc Mar 2, 2010

    "TO those who will berate me for complaining about the state troopers, you did not see how those cars were driving"---eli

    I'm not going to berate the fact that you have no idea what you're talking about with respect to how we drive during a pursuit, but think what you want. I'm sure they all came so close to you that they were all about to crash all over your vehicle and turn you into a piece of toast. lol

  • thepeopleschamp Mar 2, 2010

    "Give me an example of this frequent criticizing." Hans

    Are you kidding? How about every time you post on an article involving leo's? Does anyone else on golo seriously not know that hans is a leo basher? (Still no answer on occupation huh?)

  • thepeopleschamp Mar 2, 2010

    "So if an airline piolot gets all liquored up, overshoots the runway by a few miles and plows his or her plane into a subdivision, you can't criticize them because you don't know how to fly a plane? Yes, that makes perfect sense to me." hans

    Focus. Being a drunk pilot is wrong, no argument. But telling a pilot how to do his job when you know nothing about it is what I'm talking about. You frenquently criticize leo's when they have done nothing wrong nor even been accused of wrongdoing. You know nothing about the job, yet you criticize. You couldn't possibly have a better way to do things because you don't know whats going on in the first place.

  • SouthernLady05 Mar 2, 2010

    "Why put so many folks in jeapordy to drive that way, when he was identifiable."

    Again, wrong. The vehicle is identifiable, not the subject inside of the vehicle. If they would have backed way off, he would have ample time to "dump" the car and run. Then what?? All they have is a pink car. I hope no one is naieve enough to believe its his car. See my previous comment, too see what the ramifications of backing off of a chase could be. Bottom line, keep someone in jail longer than a year for eluding law enforcement and people may stop this. We have yet to hear why he ran, how do you know he's not the next Samuel Cooper?

  • rmilar Mar 2, 2010

    What if you got an infection, and your immune system failed to chase down the offending pathogen?