Bailey, N.C. — Zebulon police arrested a man in Nash County Friday morning after a high-speed chase on U.S. Highway 264 in which at least one patrol car was damaged.
Police Chief Tim Hayworth said the incident began outside a McDonald's on Wakelon Drive in Zebulon at about 9:55 a.m. when an "irate person" was trying to assault people with a club. An officer tried to take the man into custody, but he jumped in his pickup truck, tried to ram the police car and sped off, starting the chase.
"Every time he would start to pull over, he would then make a maneuver to try to hit the police car, try to back into a police car," Hayworth said.
The man drove 15 miles down U.S. 264 and N.C. Highway 581 into Bailey, where he almost hit several cars and spun out in the post office parking lot, the chief said. Officers tried to use stun guns to subdue him through the open driver's side window of the pickup but weren't successful.
The pickup then smashed through a barricade at Bailey Elementary School, which police had already locked down. The school remained on lockdown for about 15 minutes, a Nash County Schools spokeswoman said.
Hayworth said he then ordered his officers to conduct a PIT maneuver, which involves police intentionally running their cruisers into a fleeing vehicle to stop it.
"In my professional opinion, the chase was way out of hand. This guy was going to hurt somebody," he said. "We couldn't let him go because he had already attempted to assault people."
One police car was damaged "pretty heavily" in the collision, and the truck was forced to stop on Pace Road after about another mile, Hayworth said.
"He was still very agitated, and we had to forcibly remove him from the truck," he said, noting the man fought with police, firefighters and paramedics responding to the situation and even tried to sic a dog on them.
WRAL Sky 5 video showed authorities strapping the pickup driver to a backboard and stretcher and taking him away in an ambulance. Hayworth said he suffered minor injuries.
No officers or bystanders were injured.
"The event, it's tragic that it happened. I hate that it happened. It's a dangerous situation, but I'm glad we were able to get this resolved," Hayworth said.
The man was identified as Dennis Carroll Bunn, 60, of Sims. Police said he was taken to WakeMed in Raleigh for a physical and mental exam and would be charged with assault with a deadly weapon and felony fleeing and eluding.