Man charged with reckless driving on App State campus – with kids in car

Earnest Richard Dugger of Tennessee (Watauga Co. Sheriff's Office)

BOONE, N.C. (WBTV) – A Tennessee man was arrested in Boone Monday after police said he led them on a chase with children in his vehicle.

Earnest Richard Dugger, 22, of Mountain City, Tenn., is charged with felonious speeding to elude arrest and three counts of misdemeanor child abuse.

The incident began just before 8 p.m. when a Boone police officer tried to stop a vehicle on NC Hwy 105 for a traffic violation. Instead of pulling over, however, the driver – later identified as Dugger – allegedly sped away toward Poplar Hill Drive.

The short chase eventually led to Stadium Drive, which is on the Appalachian State University campus, where police said a large number of people were.

Because of what officers said was a “high life safety hazard posed by Dugger’s actions,” patrol cars were set up to force him to slow down or stop. But when Dugger allegedly tried to drive onto a sidewalk to avoid those vehicles, an App State Police vehicle struck the side of his vehicle, ending the chase.

Once stopped, police found that there were three children, ranging in age from 5 to 11 years old, in Dugger’s vehicle along with an adult female. Officers said they did not know children were in the vehicle during the chase.

Medic responded to the scene as a precaution, but luckily there were no apparent injuries.

Dugger was arrested on the charges and given a $10,000 bond. He is due in Watauga County District Court on August 1.

Copyright 2016 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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