Alleged drunk driver held on $151K bond

Accident victim released from hospital

By Kevin Spradlin

A 19-year-old Troy man faces a long list of charges after he led Richmond County sheriff’s deputies on a high-speed chase Sunday evening that ended in a two-vehicle crash on Main Street in Ellerbe.

Dillion Paul Chesney, of Center Methodist Church Road, came to the attention of law enforcement when he allegedly passed a sheriff’s deputy patrol car who was in the Norman area checking on the report of a woman standing in the roadway. Authorities say Chesney passed the patrol car in a posted no passing zone — and at a high rate of speed.

Dillion Paul Chesney

Dillion Paul Chesney

Deputy Brian Ingram turned on the sirens and pursued Chesney, who was “speeding in excess of 15 mph over the legal speed limit.” Ingram contacted emergency dispatchers, who in turn alerted the North Carolina Highway Patrol.

The deputy, said Chief Deputy Mark Gulledge, “attempted to stop the vehicle. The vehicle appeared to stop and pull over, and then all of a sudden took off at a high rate of speed.”

Chesney, driving a white Jeep Cherokee, led the deputy southbound on Highway 220 Business towards Ellerbe at speeds that reached up to 115 mph through a 55 mph zone. The chase ended when Chesney’s vehicle rear-ended a pick-up truck sitting stationary at the traffic light at Main Street and Page Street along the town of Ellerbe’s main thoroughfare.

The truck was operated by Randall Edward Croy, 51, of Ellerbe. The truck ended up pushed into a telephone pole. Croy was taken by helicopter to a hospital at UNC-Chapel Hill but was reportedly released and at home Monday morning.

Chesney’s Jeep came to a stop in the parking lot of the Ellerbe diner. Deputies approached, and the saw a rifle sitting on the front seat of the vehicle. Deputies quickly removed Chesney from the vehicle.

Submitted photo The truck allegedly hit by Dillion Paul Chesney was pushed into a telephone pole on Main Street in Ellerbe.

Submitted photo
The truck allegedly hit by Dillion Paul Chesney was pushed into a telephone pole on Main Street in Ellerbe.

On the front passenger seat, authorities recovered a 12-pack of beer, a .22-caliber lever-action rifle with scope and a 25-count box and Ziplock bag of .20-gauge shells.

Chesney is being held on $151,000 secured bond at Richmond County Jail. He is charged with speeding, reckless driving, unsafe passing across a yellow line, causing serious injury by vehicle, resisting a public officer, aggressive driving, fleeing/eluding arrest, and driving with a revoked license. Police said additional charges are pending related to Chesney allegedly driving while intoxicated.

Chesney is scheduled to appear on April 16 in Richmond County District Court.

In the aftermath of the initial report by The Pee Dee Post Sunday night on the chase and subsequent crash, some readers posted on the PDP’s Facebook page questions about how law enforcement officers decide to engage in such a pursuit.

It’s not easy, Gulledge said.

“We do have policies and procedures,” he said. “There’s thing that deputies have to … take into consideration” such as the volume of traffic, the time of day and whether or not school is in session.

At the time of Sunday’s incident, there was more than an hour of daylight, school was out and traffic was minimal. Gulledge also noted that the high-speed chase was “not something that we initiated. He was already driving in a dangerous (manner), driving carelessly and recklessly, and the deputy just happened to see it.”

“The likelihood (of causing an accident) was pretty high, because he didn’t have any due regard for anybody’s safety or concern as far as the law goes. At that point, the deputy’s got to make a decision.”





Filed in: Ellerbe/Norman, Latest Headlines, News, Public safety

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