Crime & Courts

Hickory man faces several charges after 2-county pursuit

A Hickory man is scheduled to make his first court appearance Monday on charges stemming from a two-county police pursuit earlier this week that ended with civilians tackling the suspect.

The Alexander County Sheriff’s Office said Jonathan Wayne Willis, 29, was arrested Tuesday afternoon after a pursuit that started in Alexander County and ended in Hickory. Despite a pursuit of about 10 miles and at least one crash, no serious injuries were reported.

The Sheriff’s Office said it started about noon, when Sgt. Jon Hayes reported seeing a 2013 Hyundai Elantra being driven recklessly on Wayside Church Road in southern Alexander County. Hayes turned on his blue lights and siren to stop the car, but he said the driver took off.

Hayes followed the car through Alexander and into Catawba County. When the fleeing driver reached U.S. 321 and Old Lenoir Road in Hickory, he allegedly crashed into two other vehicles and came to a stop.

The suspect got out of the car and tried to run, but he was tackled by civilians. Hayes then gained control over the man, deputies said.

Much of the pursuit was captured on video on Hayes’ dash camera.

Investigators say the man, later identified as Willis, had a 9 mm handgun along with cocaine and pills.

He was charged with driving with a revoked license; hit and run; DWI; fleeing to elude arrest; possession of a firearm by a felon; possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver cocaine; and trafficking in opium or heroin. Investigators say additional charges are pending.

Willis was jailed under $88,500 bond.

Deputies say a second man was in the car but escaped.