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Traffic Violation Stop Leads To Short Car Chase on App State Campus, Children in Car Unbeknownst

On Monday, June 27, 2016, at approximately 7:55 p.m., a Boone Police Officer attempted to stop a vehicle on NC Highway 105 near Ross Chrysler for a traffic violation. The driver of the vehicle, Earnest Richard Dugger, 22, of Mountain City, Tenn., refused to stop and sped away onto Poplar Hill Drive.

Earnest_Richard_DuggerA short chase ensued over to Stadium Drive on the Appalachian State University Campus. A large number of pedestrians were in the immediate vicinity of Stadium Drive. Due to the very high life safety hazard posed by Mr. Dugger’s actions, police vehicles were setup to force Mr. Dugger to slow down or stop. As Mr. Dugger attempted to drive onto a sidewalk around these vehicles, an Appalachian State University Police vehicle struck the side of Mr. Duggers car ending the chase. Inside Mr. Dugger’s vehicle were an adult female passenger and her three children ranging in age from 5 years-old to 11 years-old. It was not known during the pursuit that children were in the vehicle. Watauga Medics responded to the scene as a precaution, but there were no apparent injuries.

Mr. Dugger was charged with Felonious Speeding to Elude Arrest and three counts of Misdemeanor Child Abuse. Mr. Dugger was taken before a Watauga Country Magistrate where a $10,000 secured bond was set pending an August 1, 2016, appearance in Watauga County District Court.

“Dugger was charged with a Felony due to speeding in excess of 15 MPH over the speed limit; reckless driving as proscribed by G.S. 20-140; and driving with a child under 12 years of age in the vehicle. We are very thankful there was no one injured during this incident. I would like to commend the officers who acted with high regard for the safety of the public and responded appropriately,” said Dana Crawford, Chief of Police

Boone Police were assisted by the Appalachian State University Police Department, Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, and North Carolina State Highway Patrol during this incident.