High Speed Chase Ends With Explosive Crash

High Speed Chase Ends With Explosive Crash

June 8, 2005 --The chase ended with a fireball on Shipyard Boulevard.

It began after an attempted drug stop by the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office.

"Some of our vice units were set up on a surveillance situation and they attempted to stop a vehicle they suspected of picking up a load of narcotics," says Lt. Russ Fales.

But instead, the female driver took off, leading Sheriff's Deputies and the Highway Patrol on a high speed chase through Wilmington.

The driver eventually made it to Shipyard Boulevard, where she clipped a utility pole and crashed into the Faith Baptist Church.

"The car, as soon as it hit the the church, it exploded and through the flames, the open window, which was kind of crushed in, the vice unit reached in and extracted her through the window, thereby saving her life," says Lt. Fales.

She was taken to the hospital.  A male accomplice was taken into custody.

The crash knocked out electric, phone and cable service to the neighborhood surrounding the scene.

People lined the street to see what was going on and tell others what they say during the chase.

"They were swerving, running lights, blowing their horns.  There were a lot of accidents," says Darwin Brown, who followed the chase.

"It scared me because they were going so fast. I didn't know what was going on. I was sitting in my car and started praying for them," says Brittany Golightly.

Several church members were inside Faith Baptist Church just an a hour and a half before the crash. One was still there an hour and a half later and he says he's just glad no one was hurt.

"Anything that's not alive can be taken care of. The insurance company will come and take of it and the church will be rebuilt.>

As for the people who caused the chaos, they face a long list of charges.  But they are among the people lucky to be alive.

Reported by: Samuel King