High-speed chase ends with bang

Zoe Greszler • Updated Feb 12, 2019 at 11:01 AM

A Norwalk man accused of stealing his girlfriend’s car and fleeing the state was apprehended in North Carolina after a high-speed chase ended when he crashed into a law enforcement officer’s cruiser.

Sammie L. Barnett II, 33, of North West Street, led Statesville, N.C. law enforcement on a car chase, threw items out of his window while driving the wrong way down a street. He eventually crashed into a patrol vehicle in his attempting to escape, the Statesville Record & Landmark reported. 

Sandusky police officers issued a warrant for Barnett after he reportedly stole his girlfriend’s rental car, cell phone, credit card and $365 in cash, in addition to several hundred dollars withdrawn from her account. A conversation on Facebook indicated Barnett might have left with another woman and gone to Louisianna. 

After consulting with a city prosecutor, officers had decided to process three theft-related charges — one each for the vehicle, credit card and cash/cellphone — along with an offense for credit card misuse.

When he was found about 7 p.m. the next day, Barnett was going 65 mph Salisbury Highway in Statesville, N.C., about 20 mph more than the posted speed, the Record reported.

When officers tried to stop him, the Norwalk man began driving “at a high rate of speed,” according to the press release. In attempts to elude police, Barnett threw multiple things out the car window, before driving over the median and began going the wrong direction in the westbound lanes, the report said.

Barnett pulled into a business entrance. However, he was stopped by a closed gate to the parking lot, the Record said. An officer pulled behind Barnett, blocking his way out. When the officer exited the cruiser and instructed the suspect to get out of the car, Barnett reportedly put the car in reverse and backed into the officer’s cruiser. The escape attempt was to no avail though, the newspaper reported. 

According to the Record, a search of the stolen vehicle, which reportedly contained fake license plates, produced an open container of alcohol and multiple drug-related items.

In addition to his Ohio charges, Barnett is facing nine other charges — felony fleeing to elude, resist or obstruct an officer, assault with a deadly weapon on a government official, damage to property, possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of a Schedule II controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of an open container in the passenger area of a vehicle and multiple traffic violations.

Barnett is currently being held at the Iredell County, N.C. jail.

His girlfriend reported her boyfriend committed the original crimes Jan. 15. The two met on a dating website nearly two months before that.

After waking up that morning, the woman noticed her bedroom in complete disarray. Barnett and her vehicle were missing from her Hayes Avenue home in Sandusky. 

The woman then logged onto Facebook and read a conversation between Barnett, who used her account, and another woman. Barnett asked the other woman “if she still wanted to go to Louisiana,” according to a police report.

She then checked her bank account and noticed three consecutive withdrawals, collectively totaling about $550, from gas stations in Huron and Mansfield and at an ATM in Wadsworth.

The victim told local police officers how Barnett acted weird, asking her “if she was with ‘the feds.’” She also saw Barnett type out the same question on Facebook to the other woman. During a follow-up interview, Barnett’s mother indicated her son might be using methamphetamine.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Andy Oriel of Tandem Media Network contributed to this story.

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