Local News

UNC-Chapel Hill student hit by car on campus; driver fled the scene, arrested in Alamance County

Posted September 26, 2020 10:24 a.m. EDT
Updated September 26, 2020 10:36 p.m. EDT

— A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student was hit by a car on campus Friday night at around 9:15 p.m. The driver who police say hit him fled the scene and drove to Alamance County. Officers fired shots at the driver and his vehicle during the chase and he was eventually arrested in Graham, according to officials.

After the student was struck at the intersection of South Columbia Street and McCauley Street on UNC's campus, he reported the incident to campus police. The student told police he was not injured.

Campus police began to search for a vehicle that matched a description of the car that hit the student — a blue Jeep with no license plate. One officer saw a vehicle matching this description traveling west on South Road and attempted to pull that car over.

The person in the car was Benjamin Michael Morley, 39, from Mooresville, according to police. Morley did not stop for campus police, but had to come to a stop behind a Chapel Hill Fire Department vehicle that was responding to a gas leak on North Columbia Street in Chapel Hill. Once he was stopped, a campus police officer approached him, according to police.

When the officer approached Morley at his window, officials say the campus officer saw he was holding a large knife in his right hand. The officer told him to drop the weapon, but, according to police, Morley did not.

Morley instead accelerated forward, hitting the fire vehicle, and backed up and drove toward the officer, authorities said.

The UNC-CH police officer fired his weapon toward the vehicle to try and "stop the driver from using it to harm him" according to authorities.

Morley then turned and drove north, police said.

At around 10 p.m., the Alamance County Sheriff's deputies found Morley driving near the 400 block of Harden Street in Graham, officials said.

The sheriff's office had been advised that Morley was armed and dangerous, according to officials.

When deputies approached his car, officials said he "lunged through the driver side window, swinging a machete at the deputies."

Two sheriff's deputies fired shots at Morley and he was removed from the vehicle.

As deputies arrested Morley, they noticed that he had a graze wound. It is not clear when or where he got the injury. Morley was transported to the hospital for his injuries, according to officials.

UNC Media Relations said, "We are not able to provide comment on how the graze wound occurred," because the State Bureau of Investigation is currently investigating the incident. This is standard protocol when a law enforcement officer fires a weapon.

Morley was charged with three counts of felony assault with a deadly weapon on a government official and one count of felony flee to elude arrest.

He will be served arrest warrants and transported to the Alamance County Detention Center after he is released from the hospital, officials said.

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