Police Pursue FedEx Truck Through Raleigh; Chase Ends at Durham Freeway
Posted December 13, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST
RALEIGH — Around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Raleigh police caught a suspect they had been chasing for more than 20 miles.
The chase started near Green Road and Millbrook Road in Raleigh.
Detectives had been looking for 31-year-old Frederick Lamont Fleming of Hyatt Park in Durham. Fleming was a suspect in a series of break-ins into commercial vehicles.
Fleming appeared before a Wake County judge Wednsday. He is charged with more than a dozen felonies, and his bond was set at $210,000 dollars.
Police had tracked him to an apartment on Oates Drive that had been under surveillance, where he was believed to have been staying with a friend.
After Fleming dropped off two kids, police moved in, and he took off.
Fleming drove down Atlantic Avenue where he collided with a vehicle on New Hope Church Road, which caused a chain reaction of car accidents.
He then hijacked a FedEx truck that had been stuck in traffic and led police on a chase through Raleigh.
"We saw the guy hijack the truck, said Trisha Thevenot, an accident victim. "It was kind of scary with the police pulling out a gun."
Drivers say the ordeal was terrifying.
"What scares me is the whole idea of a chase in a highly-congested city street," said Knowles Parker, whose car was towed away from the accident scene. "I don't know what the crime was but if it's only for a stolen car, it seems to be an excessive reaction."
Sergeant Kirk Adams of theRaleigh Police Departmentsays all pursuits are controlled by a supervisor.
"We try to keep the minimum amount of risk to the public and also to the suspect and the officers," Adams said. "But obviously, the public needs to do their part as well and try to pull over and get out of the way.
The truck made it onto the Raleigh beltline, then to I-40, exited at Miami Boulevard and went northbound to Highway 55. Police say Fleming was going around 65 miles per hour.
Police say Fleming drove through the Penrith Apartments on Cornwallis Road.State troopersplaced stop sticks out on Cornwallis Road, west of Highway 55. The truck blew two tires, but kept going toward Alexander Drive.
Police finally stopped Fleming in the northbound lane on Highway 147.
"He was calm and laughing," said Trooper Erwin Montgomery of the North Carolina Highway Patrol. "He stated that he wanted a cigarette and then he would stop."
"Once I said I would get him a cigarette, he stopped," Montgomery said. "He put his hands up and laid down inside the FedEx vehicle. We pulled him out and placed him under arrest."
Sergeant Charles Lee of the North Carolina Highway Patrol put out the stop sticks that slowed down the FedEx truck.
"I had about five seconds to get out of my car and get the stop sticks when I saw the vehicle coming towards me," Lee said. "As I was about to throw out the sticks, he swerved towards me."
"I threw them and ran in the same motion and luckily, he didn't hit me," Lee said. There are reports of some accidents along I-40 and traffic tie-ups. No one was seriously injured in any of the traffic accidents.
At least eight units were involved in the chase, which ended at I-40 and the Durham Freeway. Fleming faces a number of charges in both Wake and Durham counties, including assault with a deadly weapon for trying to run over a state trooper. .