Rex William Cummings, 56, of Fleetwood, was arrested Thursday afternoon by the Ashe County Sheriff's Office when ACSO Deputy Joe Francis executed a PIT maneuver that forced Cumming’s truck off the road and onto its top.
A PIT maneuver is a pursuit technique that law enforcement use to force a fleeing vehicle to turn abruptly sideways and force it to stop.
Ashe County Sheriff James Williams said Cummings was wanted in connection with multiple charges in Ashe and Alleghany Counties, including simple worthless check, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, felony fleeing to elude arrest, failure to heed light and siren, reckless driving to endanger, speeding, and failure to report change of address as a sex offender.
“We’ve been looking for Mr. Cummings for some time now,” said Williams, who also said Cummings had successfully evaded police pursuit three weeks ago following a, “sizable chase.”
“Earlier this morning, we (the ACSO) got a call that Mr. Cummings was in the Nathan’s Creek area,” said Williams. “Sheriff's Office personnel and NC State Troopers responded to that area, and at 11:42 a.m. Deputy Joe Francis spotted the vehicle on 221N near JE Gentry Road.”
Williams said Cummings has family that lives in the Nathan’s Creek area, and was driving his brother’s truck.
A chase then ensued that took Cummings and law enforcement officers across JE Gentry Road, Hoke Wagoner, 221N, Roby Poe Road, and Ashe Central School Road and reached speeds close to 100 miles per hour, according to Williams.
“He eventually turned left off of Ashe Central School Road onto 16 towards Jefferson,” said Williams. “During this time, he ran through several roadblocks, avoided stop sticks, and hit (ACSO) Deputy Jerry Lewis’s vehicle that had attempted to setup a road-block.”
Williams said Cummings had also sideswiped another vehicle earlier in the chase.
“After that point, I gave the order to do a PIT maneuver,” said Williams. “It was obvious that he was not going to stop and I was afraid an innocent party was going to wind up dead because of the way he was driving.”
At the intersection of 88 and 16, Williams said Deputy Francis was able to force Cummings off the road, and the vehicle rolled on its top, after which Cummings was taken immediately into custody. Williams said Cummings suffered only minor scrapes and bruises.
Cummings will be charged with felony reckless driving to endanger, assault with a deadly weapon of a government official, speeding, failure to heed light and siren, fleeing to elude arrest with a motor vehicle. Williams said other charges may also be forthcoming.
Williams said the vehicle Cummings was driving could also be seized under the “Run and You’re Done,” law which went into effect in December, 2011. The law allows the seizure of vehicles of those convicted of felony speeding to elude arrest.
Bond information and a complete list of charges were not available as of 5 p.m. Thursday afternoon.