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High-speed chase down Interstate 81 ends near Christiansburg with man taking his own life, police say

Chase began in Botetourt County and ended in Montgomery County, according to Virginia State Police

A wanted man is dead after Virginia State Police said he killed himself following a chase through four localities on Monday afternoon.
A wanted man is dead after Virginia State Police said he killed himself following a chase through four localities on Monday afternoon.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. – A wanted man is dead after Virginia State Police said he killed himself following a chase through four localities on Monday afternoon.

Police said the pursuit began at about 1:50 p.m. when a man speeding while driving a gray Jeep on Interstate 81 in Botetourt County did not pull over when a trooper attempted to stop him.

The driver was wanted by authorities in Pennsylvania, according to Virginia State Police.

The high-speed chase, which reached speeds in excess of 100 mph, continued through Roanoke County, Salem and into Montgomery County, according to Virginia State Police.

During the chase, police said the suspect was in contact with dispatch and told them that he was armed.

At about mile marker 121, 3 miles north of the Christiansburg exit, authorities deployed spike strips and the chase ended when police used a pit maneuver, causing the Jeep to crash.

After the crash, the man killed himself, according to Virginia State Police.

No officers were hurt during the chase and no officers fired a weapon, according to police.

As of 5 p.m., all lanes of traffic are back open. Shortly after the incident, authorities closed all lanes of traffic.


Authorities said I-81 South in Montgomery County is completely shut down.

The interstate is closed near mile marker 119 and the Virginia Dept. of Transportation warned drivers to expect delays due to ‘security/police activity.’

As of 2:35 p.m., officials said traffic is backed up for about two miles. Authorities said traffic is being detoured off at southbound exit 132.

10 News has reached out to Virginia State Police and is awaiting further information.

Stick with 10 News as this breaking news story develops.


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Samantha Smith joined WSLS 10’s award-winning digital team as a digital content producer in July 2018.

Jeff Williamson arrived at WSLS 10 in March 2016.