Local News

Raleigh Bank Robbery Leads to High-Speed Chase

Posted March 13, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— What started as a bank robbery in North Raleigh Thursday turned into a 22-mile high-speed chase that ended in Chatham County with a suspect dead and a state trooper slightly injured.

Police say the man who was killed robbed the Stonehenge branch of Wachovia Bank in North Raleigh. Raleigh police chased a rental car at high speeds along busy highways. In the car were the suspect, a woman driving, and another woman in the passenger seat.

Police chased the suspects south on Six Forks Road, reaching speeds of 90 mph, and onto the Outer Loop of the Interstate 440 Beltline, heading west at 105 to 110 mph. They exited the beltline onto U.S. 1 South and continued onto Old U.S. 1 into Chatham County.

By that time, Wake County sheriff's deputies and the North Carolina Highway Patrol had joined the pursuit. There were over a dozen law enforcement vehicles involved.

Ernest Stuart was a witness to the end of the chase. He told WRAL-TV5'sAmanda Lambthat it was a frightening sight.

About a half-mile off the exit the vehicle carrying the suspect went out of control and into a ditch on Christian Chapel Road. Police say one female ran from the car while the other remained in the driver's seat and screamed. The male suspect, police say, then came out of hiding with a weapon.

The highway patrol says Trooper Anthony Scott of its Pittsboro division stood on top of another vehicle and ordered the suspect to drop his weapon. When the suspect failed to do so, the troopers say Scott, a three-year veteran of the Patrol, then fired a shot or shots, killing the man in the car. Police are withholding his name until relatives are notified.

There were other shots fired by law enforcement officers, but no one has said whether the suspect fired any shots. Trooper Scott Piralla was injured when he hit his head on the suspects' car as he tried to prevent it from leaving. His injury was not serious.

Highway Patrol Captain Charles Pearce said there were several shots fired.

Police have charged the female suspects, Cynthia Ann Passmore, 35, of Forestville, Md., and Michelle Peters, 30, of Washington, D.C., with robbery and several driving violations.

The State Bureau of Investigation has been called in to assist with investigation of the robbery, chase and shooting.