Staff Report – A police pursuit that began in Maryland Oct. 19 ended when the vehicle being pursued crashed on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, leaving its two occupants with major non-life-threatening injuries, according to a press release from the Virginia State Police.
The Virginia State Police was called to assist a pursuit initiated by the Maryland State Police and Pocomoke Police Department on Route 13 of a 2011 Toyota Camry. There were warrants on file in Maryland for the arrest of the driver, Christopher Northcraft, 34, of Brooklyn Park, Md., and passenger, Brandy Bowman, 35.
The vehicle was traveling at high speed with no headlights on. When the vehicle reached the Virginia state line, a Virginia State Trooper unsuccessfully attempted to stop or slow down the vehicle by deploying spike strips.
The vehicle continued traveling southbound Route 13 at high speed, and deputies from the Accomack County Sheriff’s Office joined the pursuit. The vehicle reached speeds of more than 120 mph. When the vehicle entered Northampton County, the Virginia State Police took the lead in the pursuit. As the vehicle neared the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, VSP notified CBBT personnel of the pursuit so they could ensure no one was in the toll lanes.
The Toyota Camry sped through the toll plaza at approximately 90 mph. CBBT police attempted to slow down the vehicle, due to a lane closure for bridge repairs, but they were unsuccessful. The vehicle approached the north channel high rise, lost control, and struck a curb. The vehicle spun out of control, flipping over and landing on its roof.
Northcraft exited the vehicle through the rear window and attempted to remove Bowman from the vehicle. She was trapped inside, and Northcraft attempted to flee by going over the guardrail but fell to the ground approximately 30 feet below the roadway.
Neither Northcraft nor Bowman were wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash and sustained major non-life-threatening injuries. They were flown to Norfolk General Hospital, accompanied by state police due to Northcraft’s combativeness with rescue personnel.
The Maryland and Virginia state police, Pocomoke police department, and Accomack sheriff’s office will be taking warrants out on Northcraft. Northampton County Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Jack Thornton, who was contacted and responded to the scene, will assist in the ongoing criminal investigation.
Update – The Virginia State Police was notified by an unknown caller Friday morning, Oct. 22, that Northcraft would be discharged during the morning shift change and there was a plan for an unknown employee to wheel him out to an unknown vehicle to escape authorities. Troopers responded and located Northcraft before this could occur. While they waited for Northcraft’s discharge paperwork, he barricaded himself in his hospital room and attempted to open or break a window to escape custody, but he was unsuccessful.
Northcraft was transported to Eastern Shore Regional Jail, in Eastville, on warrants for felony eluding, reckless driving, reckless driving by speed, driving without a license, and driving with no headlights.
Northcraft also was served with outstanding warrants obtained by law enforcement in Accomack County and Maryland. The Virginia State Police is still investigating the Oct. 19 crash and additional charges are pending. Northcraft was held without bond.
The Eastern Shore Post is the only locally owned newspaper on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. It is published each Friday and 12,000 copies are distributed free to readers at hundreds of locations from Pocomoke, Md., and Chincoteague, Va., to Cape Charles, Va. It is posted online Thursday evening, usually by 6:30 p.m. We are at 3257B Main St., Exmore. Mailing address is P.O. Box 517, Onley, VA 23418