COLUMBUS COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - A detective fired shots toward a driver who is accused of attempting to hit law enforcement with a stolen truck after stealing two vehicles Wednesday, according to the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office.
The suspect, Jeffery Ray Kelly Jr., was not injured by the gunfire and was taken into custody after attempting to flee after wrecking the vehicle in the Green Swamp.
According to the sheriff’s office, deputies took a report on the theft of a motor vehicle and firearms from a residence on Warrens Trail in Delco,.
Deputies along with Columbus County Criminal Investigation Division started to track the vehicle through a GPS monitoring system inside the stolen Chevrolet Avalanche.
At approximately 3 p.m., Lake Waccamaw Police Department officers were able to assist Columbus County Sheriff’s Office in spotting the vehicle on Sam Potts Highway in Bolton.
“The Lake Waccamaw Police Department Officer was waiting for Columbus County Sheriff’s Office Detectives to assist in conducting a felony stop of the stolen vehicle because it was known that the occupants of the vehicle could be armed and dangerous,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release. “The Lake Waccamaw Officer was able to get behind the Chevrolet Avalanche in the city of Bolton, N.C. The vehicle took off into the Green Swamp. Detectives with the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office along with Lake Waccamaw Police Department Officer chased the stolen vehicle into the Green Swamp.”
When the Avalanche wrecked in the Green Swamp, officials say the suspect escaped the vehicle and allegedly stole a Ford F250 work truck from a logging crew.
A second suspect inside of the Chevrolet Avalanche was taken into custody after the wreck.
“Detectives with the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office were able to get ahead of the chase and set up on secondary roads inside of the Green Swamp,” the news release states. “The suspect was being chased by Columbus County Sheriff’s Office Detectives along with Lake Waccamaw Police Department Officer. The second stolen vehicle came up on Columbus County Detectives inside of the Green Swamp moving at a high rate of speed. The suspect vehicle aimed to hit Detectives with the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office.
"When the suspect vehicle aimed to hit the Detectives, there were shots fired at the suspect. The suspect wrecked into a canal inside of the Green Swamp and attempted to run after the wreck. The suspect was apprehended by the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office Detectives.”
Kelly, who reportedly was taken to Columbus Regional for minor injuries sustained in the wreck, had outstanding warrants from Florida for aggravated battery, battery deadly weapon, and grand theft of a motor vehicle.
Kelly has been booked into the Columbus County Detention Center on a fugitive warrant and is being held without bond at this time.
The sheriff’s office says the incident still is under investigation and further charges will be sought.