Written by Steve Frank
Tuesday, 25 August 2009 00:59
STATESVILLE, N.C. -- A manhunt is underway in Statesville after a chase that started early this morning in Wilkes County.
WSOC-TV is reporting that a man fled a US 421 traffic checkpoint at
about 12:30 this morning near Wilkesboro, and the chase ended with the
suspect's vehicle wrecked along Interstate 77 in
Statesville, which was shut down for about three hours overnight as
searched. Now two schools have been closed on what was to be the first day of class as the search continues. The suspect is a convicted felon who reportedly fired three
shots at them during the chase.The
Highway Patrol said deputies in Wilkes County started chasing William
Welton, Jr. off Highway 421 after he sped off from that check point.
troopers put out stop sticks near mile marke 54 and the car stopped
near the Broad Street exit at mile marker 50. Troopers said Welton got
out of his car and fired several shots at officers, but no one was hit. At about 5:20 this morning, more gunfire in the Broad Street area
was heard after Welton took off into the woods. Residents received automatic calls from law enforcement to stay in their homes. A helicopter is helping with the
search, and swat teams from Catawba County and other areas are arriving on the scene, but there are no reports of the suspect being captured. Welton
has a black cast on his left arm and is wearing a dark shirt and jeans.
Investigators said he is a convicted felon from Stella, N.C., which is
near Morehead City.