TAYLORSVILLE, N.C. - A police chase ended with the suspect ramming several sheriff’s patrol cars and getting Tased, landing the Conover man in jail on more than a dozen charges.
The Alexander County Sheriff’s Office received an anonymous call Monday that a 1999 Ford Taurus was coming to Alexander County from Catawba County at 3 p.m. and there would be a stolen handgun and methamphetamine inside the car, said Chris Bowman, Alexander County sheriff. They were also told the driver, James Erspaner, was a fugitive from California, where he was wanted on burglary charges.
Sheriff’s deputies waited along N.C. 16 south for the vehicle, and saw it driving on the road near Taylorsville. When a deputy signaled to pull the driver over, Erspaner pulled into the parking lot of Terry Moore Ford.
“The officer walked up and ordered him to turn the ignition off,” Bowman said. “The driver made comments to him. The officer stuck his arm in to turn the car off, and the man drove a few feet, dragging the officer before he could get free.”
Erspaner drove through the dealership’s parking lot quickly, hitting a tire display before going back onto N.C. 16 and heading south, driving between 70 and 80 mph. The speed limit along the road is 50 mph. While driving, Erspaner showed a handgun to officers but did not point it at them, Bowman said.
Erspaner drove a short distance on N.C. 16 before turning around at County Home Road, then turned around again on N.C. 16. Because of how quickly Erspaner was going, the sheriff’s department asked the N.C. Highway Patrol and the Taylorsville Police Department to help them with the chase.
Officers were unable to use Stop Sticks to puncture the tires because Erspaner continued to make U-turns in a three-mile area. The 25-minute chase came to an end at the intersection of Walker Foundry Road and N.C. 16 by boxing in his car with a sheriff’s patrol car in front, behind and on the driver’s side, Bowman said.
Despite being surrounded, Erspaner rammed the patrol cars, trying to escape. He was eventually removed from the car by an officer and placed on the ground. He still did not cooperate with police, refusing to put his hands out and resisting officers.
“He was on the ground when the Taser was deployed,” Bowman said. “We got him handcuffed and he still gave a fake name and ID card after that.”
Officers also found less than a gram of methamphetamine in his car.
Erspaner, 29, of Conover, was charged with driving while impaired, careless and reckless driving, felony flee to elude arrest, four counts of felony assault on a law enforcement officer with a deadly weapon, two counts of resist, delay and obstruct a law enforcement officer, providing fictitious information to an officer, possession of a schedule II controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, maintaining a vehicle for a controlled substance, injury to personal property and being a fugitive from justice.
Taylorsville police also charged him with hit and run/leaving the scene of an accident, for hitting a parked car in Taylorsville, driving while license is revoked and reckless driving.
Erspaner was jailed under a $213,500 secured bond and has a first court appearance of March 26. Of his bond, $100,000 is for the fugitive charge.
Erspaner’s passenger, Ruby Christine Hoard, 23, of Conover, was arrested on failure to appear for worthless check charges from Iredell County. Bowman said she did not aid Erspaner.
“Officers said she was screaming and hollering, wanting to get out of the car,” he said.
The two know each other from living in the same mobile home park.