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Chapel Hill man arrested in Wake County high-speed chase

A high-speed police chase on Interstate 40 crossed 22 miles of Wake County, starting near the Johnston County line and ending on Airport Boulevard in Morrisville.

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MORRISVILLE, N.C. — A Chapel Hill man was arrested Tuesday morning after a high-speed chase on Interstate 40 that crossed 22 miles of Wake County, ending on Airport Boulevard in Morrisville.

A deputy stopped a pink 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis for a traffic violation at U.S. Highway 70 and Jones Sausage Road around 8:45 a.m., said Phyllis Stephens, a spokeswoman for Wake County Sheriff's Office.

As the deputy approached, the driver – identified as Randel Levone Riggsbee, 32, of 503 Sykes St. in Chapel Hill – sped away.

The chase went onto Interstate 40 West, where the state Highway Patrol took over. Sky 5 video showed at least nine law enforcement vehicles chasing a pink sedan with a "Hello Kitty" vanity plate. The chase reached speeds over 85 mph.

Stephens said the Mercury ran over stop sticks laid down by troopers and went down the Airport Boulevard exit. The Mercury struck an SUV, then crashed into a guardrail, ending the chase around 9:10 a.m.

Riggsbee jumped out of the Mercury and ran into a wooded area, but officers caught him after a short foot chase, she said.

No one was injured in the chase. The SUV sustained minor damage, and the front window of a cruiser was cracked.

Deputies seized an undetermined amount of cash from the Mercury.

Riggsbee faces 15 charges stemming from the wreck and outstanding warrants in Wake, Orange, Alamance and Randolph counties:

  • felony speeding to elude arrest
  • reckless driving
  • hit-and-run
  • resisting, obstruct or delaying justice
  • giving fictitious information to an officer
  • damage to property
  • exceeding posted speed limit
  • tint violation
  • driving with a revoked license
  • communicating threats
  • breaking-and-entering a motor vehicle
  • felony possession of stolen property
  • misdemeanor drug possession
  • resisting, obstruct or delaying an officer
  • passing a worthless check

He was placed in the Wake County jail under a $148,150 secured bond.

Riggsbee served a one-year sentence after being convicted in 2007 of two counts each of driving while impaired and speeding in an attempt to elude arrest, according to state Department of Correction records.

This was the second high-speed chase in Wake County this week.

On Monday, authorities chased a driver along Interstate 540 from Wendell into Raleigh. Matthew Draper, 24, of 3020 Allenby Drive in Raleigh, was charged in that chase.


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