Chase leads to fatal crash in Caldwell County

CALDWELL COUNTY, N.C. — A chase led to a fatal crash Thursday night, according to North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

Troopers said the 25-minute pursuit took place near the Caldwell and Burke County lines. The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office was chasing the driver.

Troopers said a 2015 Ford fusion was heading west on Playmore Beach Road when it crossed the center line, drove off the left side of the road and hit a tree near Packs Hill Road around 10:45 p.m. The area is south of Lenoir.

The driver, 41-year-old Michael Scott Skelton of Lenoir, died at the scene.

Speeding and reckless driving led to the crash, investigators believe. Deputies said the top speed they recorded was 58 mph.

Family members are thankful no one else was hurt and said Skelton was concerned about going back to prison.

“He was running from the police. He knew what he was doing,” said his sister Linda Bonilla. “He told me and several people as well that he wasn’t going back to prison, that he’d kill himself first.”

Sheriff’s deputies said Skelton was arrested just last month for possession of methamphetamine and was scheduled to go to court next month.

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