ELIZABETHTOWN, NC (WWAY)-- A man is behind bars under a $158,000 secured bond after investigators say he stole a police car and led them on a chase through two counties.
According to Elizabethtown Police Chief Robert Kinlaw, an officer stopped a vehicle on Martin Luther King Drive around 11:00 Sunday morning for a seatbelt violation.
Investigators say the passenger, Bobby Lee Johnson, fled while the officer was checking his identification and ran across S. Poplar Street, behind CVS Pharmacy.
The Bladen County Sheriff’s Office helped the Elizabethtown Police find the 23-year-old in a wooded area.
Police say the officers eventually discovered Johnson gave the officer a false name during questioning before he took off, and learned he had an outstanding felony probation violation warrant.
When officers handcuffed and put Johnson in an Elizabethtown patrol car, he managed to lock the doors, get into the driver’s seat and drive away. Kinlaw said that's when the suspect led Elizabethtown Police and the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office on a chase.
Highway Patrol and the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office joined in the pursuit in Columbus County. Kinlaw said Johnson was stopped and the patrol car was in a ditch near Chadbourn, where he was taken into custody.
Johnson now faces multiple charges which include Felony Larceny of Motor Vehicle, Felony Flee to Elude Arrest, and misdemeanor injury to personal property. He is in the Bladen County Jail.