Suspect dies in hospital, woman faces multiple charges after police chase turns into shootout

Suspect has life-threatening injuries

WYTHE COUNTY, Va. – A 31-year-old man is dead after police say he led them on a chase on Interstate 81 early Thursday morning.

William Clark, of Pulaski, died early Friday morning while being treated at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, according to Virginia State Police.

During Thursday morning's search for Clark, police arrested 39-year-old Charity Barton, whose last known address is in Pulaski County.

Police searched her vehicle and charged her with multiple counts related to the meth and a semi-automatic rifle they say they found in her vehicle.


Clark is charged with six total counts:

  • One count of possession of a Schedule I/II drug
  • One count of possession of a Schedule I/II drug with the intent to distribute
  • One count of possession of a concealed weapon
  • One count of possession of a stolen firearm
  • One count of possession of a firearm while in possession of a Schedule I/II drug
  • One count of possession of a stolen license plate

Clark is being held at the New River Valley Regional Jail. Police say additional charges are pending further investigation.


A state trooper and a Wythe County deputy were hurt early Thursday morning after a traffic stop lead to a police chase along I-81 and a shootout. 

The incident began around 1:40 a.m. on I-81 South in Pulaski County when a trooper spotted a 2008 Dodge pickup truck that had been reported as stolen. 

The driver refused to pull over and sped away, according to state police. During the pursuit, the driver fired several shots at the trooper's vehicle. The trooper was not shot.

The chase continued into Wytheville and ended when state police lost sight of the truck. They searched the area and found the abandoned truck on Barrett Mill Road around 2:10 a.m. Police dogs and a helicopter were used in the search for the driver, to no avail. 

Around 3:45 a.m., Wytheville police stopped a "suspicious" vehicle on West Railroad Avenue, according to state police. They determined that the woman who was driving the car knew the suspect and was driving around looking for him, also. 

During that conversation, police started chasing a Ford F-350 pickup truck. It drove over an embankment and was headed to where the woman and officer were parked. The truck, which was also stolen, rammed a Wythe County deputy and intentionally hit a trooper head-on, state police say.

Both the deputy and the trooper fired at the suspect. 

The suspect, who hasn't yet been named, has life-threatening injuries and was taken to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. 

Authorities recovered a gun from inside the F-350, which was stolen out of Wythe County. 

The deputy and trooper have minor injuries and were taken to Wythe Community Hospital. 

State police are investigating the incident. The trooper is on administrative leave now, which is standard policy. 

Charges are pending. 


An overnight police chase through the New River Valley has come to an end. 

According to state police, the chase started around 2 a.m. Thursday in Pulaski County and ended in Wythe County.

A suspect is in custody.

At this time, it's unknown if there were any injuries. 

This is a developing story. Check back for more details. 

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