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Man credits luck, bad aim for escape from gun fight

Clinton police have charged two men in connection with a high-speed chase and shootout Monday morning that sent several people, including a couple on their way home from the emergency room, to the hospital.

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CLINTON, N.C. — Ray Cuvilje is lucky to be able to laugh less than a week after he and his wife of 20 years, Cassandra, were involved in a wreck in Clinton that flipped their truck into a power pole.

While the 57-year-old is at one hospital, his wife is in another – WakeMed in Raleigh.

The two haven't seen each other since Monday morning.

It was around 4:30 a.m. They were headed home to Harrells after spending the night in the emergency room at Sampson Regional, where Cassandra had been treated for hives.

They made a quick stop by Walmart for a prescription and then another at a BP station for something to drink.

After that, Cuvilje says, everything went blank.

"I remember vaguely going across Highway 24, but I never reached the ramp," he said Friday.

A car plowed into the back of his Ford pick-up truck, flipping it and sending it crashing into a light pole.

"After that boom, I don't remember nothing," he said. "Not one thing."

Clinton police say the Cuviljes were innocent victims of a dispute between two groups of people who were part of a "backyard club."

The dispute escalated into a chase and then into a rolling gunfight on N.C. Highway 24, near the U.S. Highway 421 overpass.

Six people, including the Cuviljes, were hospitalized.

"They said I was lucky not to be shot, because I was walking all between everything." Cuvilje said. "Somebody out there must have had a bad aim."

Cuvilje suffered a concussion and some internal bruising; his wife has four broken ribs and had to have surgery on her neck.

He's sore and groggy, but he says he's been able to maintain his sense of humor and a positive outlook about the ordeal.

He's not angry, he says, because he's seen a lot. He's a volunteer firefighter. He's a former Marine. He's lived in big cities.

"I've learned that things happen," he said. "Sometimes, you just can't avoid them."

Now, he's just waiting to be reunited with his wife, who he's only spoken to over the phone since the wreck.

"I told her, 'You better behave yourself up at WakeMed,'" he laughed.

Meanwhile, police are still investigating and have charged two men in the incident.

James Curtis Walker, 20, of 41 Golden Eagle Lane, Clinton, is still on the lam. He faces charges of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Stanley James Henry, 23, of 619 Eastover Terrace, Clinton, faces two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Police say he will be arrested once he's released from the hospital.

They haven't ruled out more arrests.


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