An Ararat man is in critical condition following an alleged pursuit that occurred at 11:35 p.m. Saturday, according to Patrick County Sheriff Dan Smith.
Smith said that Patrick County Sheriff’s Deputy Lewis Carroll Jr. observed a 2006 Hyundai Sonata, allegedly traveling at a high rate of speed on Ararat Highway.
A pursuit ensued when Carroll attempted to stop the vehicle. The suspect vehicle turned onto Raven Rock Road, allegedly reaching speeds in excess of 80 miles per hour, Carroll still in pursuit, according to Smith.
The driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a tree at the intersection of Raven Rock Road and River Road, Smith said.
The suspect vehicle caught on fire as a result of the crash. Carroll attempted to extinguish the fire, and successfully extracted all three occupants as the fire began to overtake the vehicle, Smith said.
“It is obvious that all three men would have burned to death if Carroll had not have acted so decisively,” Smith said.
Carroll also attempted to rescue a dog from inside the vehicle but was unable to do so because the fire had completely engulfed the vehicle by that point, Smith said.
Sammy Wayne Smith, 48, of Ararat, the alleged driver of the vehicle, was airlifted to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston Salem, N.C. with life-threatening injuries.
Two other occupants, men aged 18 and 26, also sustained serious injury and were transported from the scene by ambulance.
Smith stated that his agency contacted the Virginia State Police to assist and conduct the crash scene investigation because a Patrick County deputy initiated the pursuit that ended in serious injury.
Multiple charges are pending in connection with the incident, Smith said.