ELIZABETHTOWN — A Bladen County man with outstanding felony warrants was stopped because of a seat-belt violation on Sunday, but managed to drive away in an Elizabethtown patrol car after being arrested.
According to Chief Bobby Kinlaw, one of his officers noticed a passenger in a passing car was not wearing a seat belt on Martin Lutyher King Jr. Drive. The officer gave chase and stopped the car in the Bo’s food store parking lot.
“The passenger was asked for an ID and gave a name,” Kinlaw said. “While the officer checked the name in the computer, the suspect fled on foot … running across South Poplar Street to a wooded area behind CVS pharmacy.”
Officers with Elizabethhtown Police Department and Bladen County Sheriff’s Office were able to locate the suspect quickly.
“It was learned that the suspect had given a false name while being questioned in the Bo’s parking lot,” Kinlaw said. “The suspect had outstanding felony probation warrants, and he was handcuffed and placed in an Elizabethtown Police vehicle.”
Kinlaw said the suspect was able to lock the doors and get into0 the driver’s seat. While officers were attempting to gain access to the vehicle, the suspect drove away.
Elizabethtown officers and Bladen County deputies pursued the stolen police car through Clarkton, Bladenboro and across the county line into Columbus County, where State Highway Patrol and Columbus County sheriff’s deputies took over the chase.
The vehicle was stopped near Chadbourn, where the suspect had driven into a ditch.
Arrested was Bobby Lee Johnson, 23, of Elizabethtown. He was charged with felony larceny of a motor vehicle, felony flee to elude arrest, giving a fictitious name to law enforcement officer, resisting arrest, injury to personal property and outstanding warrant for felony probation violation.
Johnson was booked into the Bladen County Jail, where he remains under a $158,000 secured bond.