Two in custody after leading officers on high-speed chase

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Police recover more than 50 grams of meth

COLUMBUS — Local law enforcement officers found themselves in a car chase Thursday — that reached speeds of up to 120 mph — which began in Saluda and ended with the vehicle crashing along U.S. 74 in Mill Spring. 

The chase came down the mountain along Interstate 26 to Columbus, then along U.S. 74 near Highway 9. 

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Once apprehended, a man and woman were both arrested, according to Columbus Police Chief Scott Hamby. More than 50 grams of methamphetamine was found in the vehicle. 

Christopher Scott Fleischer

Elizabeth Blackwell Pace

The driver of the vehicle, Christopher Scott Fleischer, 35, of Hendersonville, was arrested and charged with driving while impaired, trafficking methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, maintaining a vehicle for a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, felony speeding to elude arrest, aggressive driving, speeding 120 mph in a 65-mph zone, operating a vehicle with no insurance, as well as other traffic-related offenses, according to Columbus Police Department reports. 

Fleischer also had 11 outstanding warrants for his arrest, Hamby said. 

The passenger of the vehicle, Elizabeth Blackwell Pace, 35, of Hendersonville, was arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine, trafficking methamphetamine, conspiring to traffic methamphetamine, maintaining a vehicle for a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to reports. 

Hamby said the Saluda Police Department attempted to initiate a traffic stop on a gold 2000 model Toyota Corolla for a revoked registration plate and not having insurance. Fleischer refused to stop and sped away at the scene. 

“Then, the suspect vehicle entered Interstate 26 East,” Hamby said. “Saluda Police Department advised communications that they were in a chase on I-26 heading towards Columbus.” 

Columbus Police Officers took over the chase near exit 67 on I-26, and the vehicle entered U.S 74 East, Hamby said.

“The chase continued on U.S. 74 until the suspect exited off at the 167 exit and made a left turn on [North Carolina Highway] 9 North and then made a left turn back onto U.S. 74 West,” said Hamby. “The suspect vehicle wrecked shortly after entering U.S. 74 West.” 

Hamby said Fleischer ran from the vehicle and fled into the woods, but was captured and taken into custody by Columbus officers. Saluda officers detained Pace. 

Officers with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office also assisted, and helped search the suspects, Hamby said.

Fleischer was given a $60,000 secured bond and Pace was given a $52,000 secured bond, according to police reports.