Police chase ends with crash in the river

Published 5:13 pm Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Polk chase leads to two hit vehicles, Shelby man arrested

TRYON — An incident Friday afternoon took officers from two states on a car chase from Tryon through Landrum and into the Green River. 

A man fled from officers along Harmon Field Road in Tryon and crashed into the Green River in approximately 19 feet of water, where he swam and was eventually assisted out and taken to the hospital, and then arrested. 

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Dewayne Lee Medlin, 34, of 132 Elrue Drive, Shelby, was arrested and charged with elude/flee arrest with motor vehicle; resist, obstruct or delay public officer; larceny of firearm; possession of a stolen firearm; and possession of a firearm by a felon, according to Polk County Sheriff’s Office reports. 

Officials with the sheriff’s office said a driver behind a 2000 Buick Bonneville observed a domestic situation along Harmon Field Road. The individual called the police saying that a woman appeared to be trying to jump out of the vehicle. 

Polk County deputies pursued the vehicle into Landrum and notified Landrum Police. 

The car was going at a high rate of speed, running all the red lights through Tryon toward Landrum, officials said. 

The vehicle stopped at the Hot Spot in Landrum and the female exited the car to speak with officers. Officers discovered Medlin had warrants out of Shelby. Once officers said “warrants,” Medlin put the car in drive and took off again, according to reports. 

The pursuit included the suspect sideswiping one car and hitting a Campobello Police vehicle as the chase went into Campobello as well. 

The chase continued up Highway 9 and into Green Creek, then to the Green River Bridge in Mill Spring, where Medlin crashed into the river. Officers said the vehicle quickly submerged, but Medlin escaped the car and swam in the middle of the river for a while. There were two officers who went into the water to assist Medlin out.

Medlin was given medical treatment and taken to St. Luke’s Hospital. 

Officials said the cooperation between all agencies involved was remarkable. Stop sticks were deployed by the North Carolina Highway Patrol, but the suspect went around them, they said.

Officials added they were thankful no one was hurt.

Medlin was given a $50,000 secured bond. His trial was set for Oct. 10 in Polk County District Court.