Crime & Courts

Woman critically hurt during I-85 police pursuit

A 27-year-old Rock Hill man faces a number of charges after a woman was critically injured during his flight from police on Tuesday afternoon on Interstate 85.

Willie Wright was arrested after the chase ended on Brookshire Boulevard when he crashed the 2010 Mazda 3 he was driving, police said.

It all started shortly before 4 p.m., when a CMPD patrol officer on southbound I-85 near Little Rock Road spotted a Mazda 3 that had been reported stolen. The officer, C.M. Greene, turned on his blue lights but told investigators the driver pulled away.

Greene turned off his blue lights, police said, and watched the Mazda accelerate down I-85. A short time later, an N.C. Highway Patrol trooper who was southbound on I-85 and ahead of Greene said he noticed the Mazda pass him.

The trooper, whose name was not released, pulled behind the Mazda and turned on his blue lights. The Highway Patrol said the driver slowed to about 20 or 25 mph and pulled onto the shoulder.

Moments later, the trooper said, the front passenger door on the Mazda opened, and a woman fell or jumped to the pavement.

The Mazda then pulled away, the trooper said. Witnesses told authorities the woman was struck by the Mazda as it left the scene.

The trooper continued to follow the Mazda, while Greene stopped to check on the woman.

The woman, whose name has not been released, was taken by Medic to Carolinas Medical Center and was listed in critical condition.

The police pursuit continued on I-85 and then onto the inner loop of Interstate 485. Police said the Mazda driver exited I-485 at Brookshire Boulevard and crashed into a pole. The driver, identified as Wright, was taken into custody.

Police said Wright was charged with felony speed to elude, felony hit and run causing serious injury, possession of a stolen car, driving 130 mph in a 65 mph zone, driving while impaired and several other misdemeanors and traffic infractions.

He was being being held Wednesday on a $16,000 bond, according to the online Mecklenburg County Jail log.