Police identify 2 killed in Orange crash during police chase

CorrespondentFebruary 17, 2014 

— An investigation into a wreck that killed two men during a police chase will take several days to complete, the N.C. Highway Patrol said Monday.

The men died in the wreck about 1:20 a.m. Sunday on U.S. 70 about a mile west of Hillsborough after their car crashed into the end of a guardrail where U.S. 70 crosses the Interstate 85 Connector Road.

The Mebane Police Department identified the men as Michael Earl Walker, Jr., 20, of Hillsborough, who was the driver of the car, and passenger Jazzman Vontrazc Jacobs, 28, of Mebane.

A 17-year-old, Rashawn Lee Jacobs of Mebane, who was in the back seat, was injured in the wreck and taken to Duke Hospital by ambulance. He was listed in stable condition Monday morning, according to the Mebane Police Department.

Police attempted to stop the 2005 Nissan Altima on suspicion the driver was impaired near the intersection of U.S. 70 and Buckhorn Road, which is east of the Mebane city limits. Officer Nicholas McCormick and Sgt. Adam Cole turned on their blue lights and siren, but the car did not pull over, “and a pursuit ensued,” according to a press release from the police department.

No one at the department was available Monday afternoon to answer questions about the wreck.

During the pursuit along U.S. 70 heading toward Hillsborough, the officers lost sight of the car several times because of the driver’s speed. It was last seen near the intersection of Forrest Avenue in Efland, about a quarter-mile from the crash site, the Mebane police press release states.

U.S. 70 is a two-lane road that splits into two single-lane one-way roads as it crosses over the I-85 connector road that runs from I-85 toward Hillsborough. The car crashed into the end of the left-side guardrail of the single-lane road heading east.

Walker and Jacobs died at the scene of the accident.

Sgt. M. Stuart of the N.C. Highway Patrol, whose office is about a mile east on U.S. 70 from the crash site, said the investigation will take several days.

It appears Walker was driving fast and alcohol may have been involved, Stuart said. Toxicology tests are being processed to determine whether alcohol or drugs played a part in the wreck, he said.

Mebane police called ahead to let Orange County officials know they were heading toward Hillsborough, but the Highway Patrol had not been alerted to the chase, Stuart said.

There were no Highway Patrol troopers at the office at the time of the wreck, he said.

“It was 1:30 in the morning,” Stuart said. “We were out working.”

The Highway Patrol investigation will focus only on the wreck. The Mebane Police Department is also conducting an administrative investigation. McCormick and Cole have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of that investigation, which is routine in such cases.

Staff writer Ron Gallagher contributed to this report.

Velliquette: bavelliquette@gmail.com

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