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Chase leads to search for swimming suspect

Revised on: 12.5.2018 at 05:19 p.m.

Posted on: 12.5.2018 at 11:24 a.m.

An alleged boat thief ended up going for a swim Tuesday morning after a chase on U.S. 74-76.

Master Sgt. Jason Durdle of the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office was near the Marathon store in North Whiteville around 5:47 a.m. when he noticed the driver of a Chevrolet Avalanche behaving in a suspicious manner. The truck was trailering a 23’ Godfrey offshore boat, and when Durdle ran the tag on the plate, the boat was reported stolen from Wilmington. The boat was valued at $30,000.

The driver of the truck, Issac Jones of Lumberton, pulled onto U.S. 701 North and went through the traffic light at Smyrna Road, Durdle’s report said. When the sergeant activated his blue lights and siren, Jones allegedly sped away, taking the eastbound ramp onto U.S. 74-76.

Durdle called for assistance, and maintained pursuit of the truck as speeds approached 90 miles per hour through the White Marsh Bridge construction area, where the highway narrows to two lanes. The trailer was swaying by that point, the report said, and Jones went down the Red Hill Road/Jefferson Street off-ramp, then back up onto the four-lane highway. He continued east at speeds of more than 90 miles per hour, striking a speed limit sign and losing control near Delco.

When the boat trailer and truck wrecked, the report said, Jones jumped from the vehicle and fled on foot toward Sam Potts Highway. Durdle continued the pursuit on foot.

Jones entered a pond near the highway and apparently tried to swim his way to freedom, but found Durdle waiting for him on the other side of the pond, where he was taken into custody without further incident.

Jones was charged by the sheriff’s office with fleeing to elude arrest, reckless driving, speeding, possession of two crack pipes, resisting an officer, and possession of stolen goods. The Highway Patrol charged Jones with driving while impaired and driving while license revoked.

The truck was seized, and Jones was held under $45,000 secured bond.

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