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Suspect dead following chase, crash in Johnston County

A person suspected of stealing a tow truck in Johnston County died Monday afternoon after the vehicle ran off the road and struck trees following a chase and exchange of gunfire, the North Carolina Highway Patrol said.

The name of the suspect had not been released as of late Monday night.

The incident began about 4:23 p.m. when troopers attempted to stop the driver of a stolen tow truck on Black Creek Road in Johnston County, according to a Highway Patrol news release. As the pursuit traveled onto US 70 Business West near Clayton, the driver began shooting at troopers, who returned fire.

During the chae, the tow truck driver traveled across the eastbound lanes of US 70 and struck trees, the Patrol said. The driver was prounced dead at the scene.

“The fact that no cars were hit in this is amazing,” Clayton Police Chief Blair Myhand told WRAL.com. Myhand told the TV station that the wrecker went airborne before hitting the trees.

The State Bureau of Investigation is conducting an independent criminal investigation at the request of the Highway Patrol. Investigators from the Highway Patrol internal affairs unit are conducting an internal investigation, which is agency protocol in any officer involved shooting.

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