ROUGEMONT, N.C. (WNCN) — A driver died in a crash that happened while he was being chased by authorities in Durham County on Monday afternoon, officials said.
The incident started around 2:45 p.m. when Person County deputies spotted a car that Roxboro police said avoided a traffic checkpoint, said Person County Chief Deputy Crabtree.
During the chase, the fleeing driver crossed into oncoming traffic on U.S. 501 north near the Durham/Person county line, Crabtree said.
The suspect’s SUV crashed head-on with another vehicle and then caught fire, Crabtree said.
David Lee Burch, who witnessed the incident, said that authorities put down “stop sticks” in an effort to end the chase, however, the suspect drove “across the median into head-on traffic” to avoid the stop sticks.
Burch said that he could hear small crackling explosions during the blaze, which he said were bullets inside the vehicle exploding.
The suspect died at the scene.
A 45-year-old Timberlake man driving the other vehicle was transported to the hospital with serious.
As Tuesdya morning, authorities were unable to identify the man who died because his body was burned.
The chase began after Roxboro police were conducting a routine traffic checkpoint in town, said Roxboro Police Chief David Hess.
Roxboro officers spotted a gray vehicle make an illegal u-turn and believed the driver did so to avoid the checkpoint, Hess said.
Roxboro police then broadcast a “be on the lookout” for the vehicle, however, Roxboro police never chased the suspect, according to Hess.
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol will be the primary investigator of the crash.