Authorities searching for driver responsible for Columbus car chase

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, May 1, 2018

2 women fled town in stolen vehicle

COLUMBUS — A car chase that started in Columbus Sunday night ended in Fletcher, with police arresting one woman while still seeking the vehicle’s driver.

Columbus Police Chief Scott Hamby said a Columbus Police officer stopped a vehicle on U.S. 74 for driving 88 mph in a 65-mph zone. The officer walked up to the vehicle, where two females were unable to provide identification, and gave the officer fictitious information about their identities.

Hamby said the vehicle information came back as stolen out of Charlotte and, as the officer called for backup, the driver took off.

The pursuit began just before 11 p.m., with speeds along Interstate 26 reaching up to 125 mph, Hamby said.

“The chase started near the 163-mile marker on 74,” Hamby said.

He said a Saluda officer deployed stop sticks there, but the stop was unsuccessful. The stolen vehicle continued to Hendersonville, with the driver taking Exit 49B there and made multiple turns on back roads and continued into Fletcher, Hamby said.

There were two Columbus officers in pursuit into Henderson County before that county’s sheriff’s office took over the pursuit.

The chase ended on Mills Gap Road in Fletcher, when the vehicle stopped and the driver took off on foot. The passenger, Zakiya Anazia Wright, 18, of Kentucky, remained in the vehicle.

“[The driver] got away on foot, and still hasn’t been found,” Hamby said early Monday morning. “The passenger remained in the vehicle. Charges are pending on the passenger, and the driver, once she is located.”

Hamby said no drugs or weapons were found in the vehicle, but the car was still being processed by Henderson County as of Monday.

Authorities did not know the identification of the driver, as the passenger claims she did not know her. The driver is described as an African American woman.

Hamby said charges from Columbus for the driver will include possession of a stolen vehicle, felony fleeing to elude arrest, fictitious information to officer and numerous traffic violations.

“We are going to make contact with [the passenger] and charges are pending,” Hamby said.