Wise Co. pursuit ends in head-on crash leaving 1 dead

Wise Co. pursuit ends in head-on crash leaving 1 dead

WISE, Va. (WJHL) — One person in a civilian vehicle died as a result of a head-on collision that took place during a police pursuit in Wise, Virginia on Wednesday morning, the Virginia State Police (VSP) reports.

A joint news release from the Wise County Sheriff’s Office and Wise County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office said the pursuit began when deputies on US 23 South in the Town of Pound observed a silver Audi Q3 that was the subject of a Be On the Look Out (BOLO) out of Hazard, Kentucky.

The release said the car was connected to an alleged theft and subsequent pursuit in Hazard earlier in the day, which Kentucky law enforcement agencies ultimately terminated at the state line.

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Once Wise County deputies saw the vehicle on US 23 South, “it immediately began to accelerate at a high rate of speed, weaving through traffic,” the release states. Due to the vehicle’s BOLO status and high rate of speed, deputies initiated a pursuit, according to the release.

Dashcam footage from the pursuit can be seen below:

“Shortly after the pursuit started, the suspect vehicle crossed the median and began to drive into opposing traffic, traveling south in the northbound lane on US 23,” the release states. The vehicle then narrowly avoided several civilian vehicles while driving in the wrong direction, at times on the gravel shoulder.

The release said a deputy in pursuit indicated he was going to “attempt to end the pursuit” due to the deadly threat. That deputy then used his patrol vehicle to briefly strike the suspect’s vehicle, which did not successfully crash the suspect, the release said.

The suspect continued to drive into oncoming traffic on US 23, and the release said police tried to stop the vehicle with spike strips on two separate attempts, which were unsuccessful, as the suspect drove through the median to avoid them.

Law enforcement diverted the pursuit back into the correct lanes for a brief moment, but the suspect then drove back into oncoming traffic once the pursuit entered Wise and struck a 2024 Chevrolet Trax head-on, the release said.

The VSP said there were three occupants in the Audi: The driver and one passenger, who were flown to the Johnson City Medical Center (JCMC) with serious injuries; and another passenger that was taken via ambulance to Norton Community Hospital.

There were two occupants in the Chevrolet, according to the VSP. The driver was being treated at JCMC and the passenger was taken to Norton Community Hospital, where she passed away, the VSP said.

The VSP’s Wytheville Division Crash Reconstruction Team is assisting in the ongoing investigation. Charges are pending against the Audi’s driver.

The release said that due to the ongoing investigation, all involved parties’ identities are being withheld for the time being.

We would like to thank all fire, rescue, and law enforcement agencies for their response to this incident: Wise Police Department, Norton Police Department, UVA-Wise Police Department, Virginia State Police, Wise Rescue Squad, Wise Fire Department, Norton Rescue Squad, Norton Fire Department, LifeCare Ambulance Service, C-Trans Ambulance Service, VSP Medflight, and Highlands Air Rescue.

Wise County Sheriff’s Office
Wise County Commonwealth’s Attorney Office

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