Vehicle theft ends in car chase, property damage on waterfront

Published 7:30 pm Tuesday, October 2, 2018

A Washington man faces at least nine criminal charges this week after allegedly stealing a vehicle, leading police on a chase and eventually driving the vehicle down the promenade at the Washington waterfront, destroying benches, trash cans and other city-owned property in the process.

According to a release from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, Joseph Matthew Daniels, age 51, of Washington, was charged with felony larceny of a motor vehicle, failure to heed blue lights and siren, reckless driving to endanger, driving while license revoked, resisting a public officer, possession of stolen goods, felony possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana and injury to personal property in the aftermath of the incident.

According to the release, at about 10:40 p.m. Monday, BCSO deputies responded to a report of a stolen vehicle from a residence on Clinton Avenue in Washington. Approximately two hours later, a BCSO deputy observed the stolen vehicle traveling near John Small Avenue and Harvey Street. The deputy attempted to stop the vehicle but the driver failed to yield for blue lights and sirens, the release said.

A pursuit ensued that concluded when the stolen vehicle came to stop on Stewart Parkway. The driver then exited the vehicle and fled on foot where he jumped over the railing into the Pamlico River. BCSO deputies were able to pull the man from the river at which time he was placed under arrest.

While drugs were discovered in the suspect’s possession, it remains unclear whether he was under the influence of narcotics or alcohol at the time of the incident.

According to BCSO Lieutenant Jim Vanlandingham, deputies were retracing the route of the pursuit on Tuesday, interviewing property owners who may have also suffered damages as a result. Vanlandingham said further charges against Daniels may be possible based on those conclusions.

The release goes on to state that emergency medical services were called to the scene and transported Daniels to Beaufort Vidant Hospital for evaluation where he was later released. He was held in the Beaufort County Detention Center under a $50,000 secured bond.

According to Vanlandingham, the incident on Tuesday morning was not the first time Daniels has fled from law enforcement. In 2008, he was charged in Pitt County with felony fleeing to elude, resisting an officer and driving with license revoked.

According to the North Carolina Department of Corrections website, in 2010, Daniels was sentenced as a habitual felon for larceny of a motor vehicle, failure to heed lights and sirens, speeding to elude arrest, driving while license revoked and being drunk and disorderly. He was released on parole in July 2017 after serving six years and 11 months in prison for those charges.