Sisters, Suspect Die in High-Speed Police Chase
Posted December 1, 2007 5:58 p.m. EST
Updated December 2, 2007 5:25 p.m. EST
Franklinton, N.C. — Two sisters were killed Saturday afternoon after they were caught in the middle of a high-speed police chase that spanned two counties.
The man fleeing police also died in the crash.
The 15-mile chase started in Franklinton on N.C. Highway 56 and proceeded north on U.S. Highway 15 near Creedmoor into Granville County – where it ended.
Franklinton police officer Michael Dunlap observed Guy Christopher Ayscue, 38, of Henderson, driving very erratically in a Pontiac, according to police. Dunlap tried to stop Ayscue using his lights and siren, but Ayscue drove off, and Dunlap pursued.
Ayscue was traveling north and went to pass another vehicle in a no-passing zone on a hill when he hit a 1999 Kia head-on, according to police.
Linsay Erin Lunsford, 18, was driving the Kia with her little sister, Maggie Rose Lunsford, 9, in the passenger seat. The sisters were driving to their father's house after a shopping trip at Wal-Mart.
They were wearing seat belts, according to police, but they did not survive the crash.
Police estimate Ayscue was driving 90 mph when he hit the sisters' car. He also died in the crash.
"There were no skid marks," said patrol Sgt. R.P. Hargrove. "No time to brake."
The sisters were two of six children in their family. Linsay was a student at UNC-Greensboro and was studying to become a teacher, family members said. Maggie, a fourth-grader at Mount Energy Elementary School, won a trophy at a karate tournament earlier in the day Saturday.
Family members of the sisters said they want to know how the chase went so far and why police pursued such a long distance.
“We’ve lost our family members. [The police] felt the need to chase somebody. We don’t even know why they were chasing him, but they killed her. They took my sisters, and I’ll never get to touch them again,” said Liz Lee, the girls’ sister.
Franklinton police said an investigation into the chase is under way.
Franklinton Police Chief Ray Gilliam said Dunlap, who joined the department in 2005 and is the agency's traffic and K-9 officer, was placed on administrative leave with pay, per standard procedure when civilians are seriously injured during police activity.
Franklinton has a police pursuit policy, and they will be checking to make sure that policy was properly followed, Gilliam said. Police said they wish they knew why Ayscue would not just pull over.
Ayscue was to face misdemeanor charges of speeding in court in Vance County on Jan. 3, 2008. Court records show he was charged under state statute 20-141(J1), which covers driving 15 mph over the speed limit or above 80 mph.
The sisters’ family members are trying to find out why a shopping trip had to end so tragically.
“I can’t even describe the loss my mother’s going through right now over something so senseless,” Lee said. “And to take away two people who had so much life and so much ambition and dreams … there just aren’t words.”