Eight people, including two police officers, were injured Saturday when a man allegedly led law enforcement on a chase up and down Interstate 77, then crashed into three other vehicles in Huntersville, authorities said.
One person was seriously injured and had to be airlifted to the hospital. The suspect, identified by police as Jeffrey Wayne Greene, 48, of Charlotte was among those injured.
Much of the pursuit took place on a portion of I-77 that typically has heavy traffic on summer weekends, but neither of the crashes took place on the interstate.
The series of events began about 9:30 a.m., authorities said, when Cornelius police learned that Greene, who was wanted in two other counties for obtaining property by false pretense, was staying at the Days Inn near Catawba Avenue. As police approached, they said Greene got into a vehicle and drove off.
Authorities said police pursued Greene, who got onto Interstate 77 at Exit 28 and headed north in an Infiniti SUV. The N.C. Highway Patrol joined the pursuit, and authorities said Greene got off I-77 at Exit 33 in Mooresville and began driving north on U.S. 21.
A short time later, police said Greene made a U-turn on U.S. 21 and slammed into a Cornelius police car, injuring two officers.
Investigators said Greene then got back onto I-77 in the midst of heavy weekend traffic, headed southbound and crossed Lake Norman back into Mecklenburg County.
As the Infiniti neared mile marker 24 in Huntersville, police said the suspect drove into the grassy median and spun around, getting back on the northbound lanes. Investigators said Greene then got off I-77 at Exit 25 in the Birkdale area and made a right turn on Sam Furr Road.
The pursuit ended moments later on Statesville Road at Rich Hatchet Road.
Police said the Infiniti crossed the center line and struck two other vehicles. A third northbound vehicle then hit one of the other wrecked cars. Six people were injured in this wreck on Statesville Road and Medic airlifted one patient to Carolinas Medical Center.
Cornelius police said three people suffered serious injuries but are expected to recover. The two Cornelius police officers suffered minor injuries and were released from Carolinas Medical Center a few hours after the pursuit, a police spokesman said.
It was not clear how fast Greene or police were driving during the pursuit.
Statesville Road was closed in the area of the wreck for several hours but reopened at 2 p.m.
Greene was being treated at Carolinas Medical Center.
When he is released, Greene will be charged with two counts each of assault on a government official, injury to personal property, and hit-and-run causing property damage; and one count each of larceny of property, resisting a public officer and fleeing to elude arrest, police said.
Investigators said Greene was wanted in both York, S.C., and Lincoln counties on obtaining property by false pretense. In addition, the North Carolina prison website listed Greene as an absconder from parole and probation. Records show Greene was convicted in Mecklenburg County on June 13 of assault on a public officer and sentenced to probation.