Man in custody after leaving children in car after high-speed chase

UNION COUNTY, N.C. — A 32-year-old Charlotte man was placed into custody, accused of abandoning his children after he led police on a high-speed chase that ended Tuesday afternoon on Interstate 485, the Union County Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies in Union County pulled over Kirby Faulkner in Indian Trail, but he sped away. A high-speed pursuit ensued, which ended after a tire-deflation device was deployed on I-485 Outer near the Lawyers Road exit and Mint Hill.

Faulkner ran away.

Deputies soon discovered that Faulkner left his 1-year-old and 11-year-old children in the vehicle.

There was also “a large quantity of marijuana inside,” the sheriff said.

Once the kids were safe, multiple agencies joined the search for Faulkner.

The sheriff announced Wednesday night on social media that Faulkner was in custody.

UCSO deputies had issued warrants out for Faulkner’s arrest for fleeing to elude, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, child abuse, and possession of marijuana.

Faulkner also has additional warrants for his arrest that are linked to crimes he has committed in other jurisdictions surrounding the Charlotte area.

Two people were hurt when the chase ended. They were not the children.

Union County Lt. James Maye said it started when a deputy tried to pull over Kirby Faulkner for a fake license plate along Faith Church Road in Union County. That’s when he said Faulkner took off.

The chase continued along back roads, reaching speeds of 90 mph on a 35 mph road before getting onto Lawyers Road. Faulkner’s tired had been deflated by the time he got onto I-485, but it wasn’t until he hit another car that he stopped on the side of the interstate.

“Their focused shifted from apprehension to childcare at that point,” Maye said.

That’s because Faulkner ran into the woods, leaving the two children behind.

“That father left them on the side of 485 and it’s extremely sad,” Maye said. “Most of us who patrol are fathers, are parents, and we can’t even imagine making that decision of self-preservation over your children who depend on you.”

Deputies later learned the car had been reported stolen.

Channel 9′s Genevieve Curtis asked if the chase would have been different if deputies knew children were in the car. Maye said deputies followed policy based on the information they had.

“On the other hand, if we had known there were children in the vehicle, then yes, there probably would have been some different decisions made as far continuing the pursuit and things like that,” he said.

This is a developing story, check back with wsoctv.com for updates.

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