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Police chase that started in Montgomery County ends with crash in Salem

Police chase that started in Montgomery County ends with crash in Salem

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A person being pursued by police fired multiple shots out of a vehicle window Wednesday while attempting to flee, according to the Christiansburg Police Department.

The suspect, whose name wasn’t immediately released, led authorities on a chase from Montgomery County, up Interstate 81, and toward Salem, before crashing on Riverside Drive, officials said.

First responders took the suspect to LewisGale Medical Center for injuries sustained in the wreck. No officers were hit by the gunfire, officials said, and none of them fired their weapons.

The incident kicked off about 2:25 p.m. Wednesday when staff at the Elliston Food Mart in Montgomery County reported that a man flashed a gun at an employee.

Clerk Jamie Ballard said a man had come into the store, picked up a bag of chips and a drink, then walked out. Ballard approached him in the parking lot to remind him to pay.

“Next thing I know, a gun is in my face,” he said, speaking by phone with The Roanoke Times. Terrified, he said, he turned and fled back into the store. The man got into his vehicle and drove away.

Ballard was left badly shaken by the incident. “My nerves are shot,” he said. “I’ve never had anything like that happen to me.”

Shortly after authorities were alerted, the suspect’s vehicle was spotted in Christiansburg, according to a news release from the town.

The town police tried to stop it but the suspect brandished a gun and fled, authorities said. Law enforcement pursued the vehicle, described as a small silver SUV, across the bypass to the Spradlin Farms area, where the SUV backtracked and got onto I-81. It continued until Exit 137, where it got off and headed toward Salem, turning onto Mill Lane and then Riverside Drive.

Officers reported that shots were fired out of the SUV’s window at several points during the chase. The investigation into Wednesday’s events remained ongoing that evening.

Multiple agencies responded to the pursuit including the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Salem Police Department and Virginia State Police.

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