Fort Valley man charged in Kentucky chase

Donald Fox III

A Fort Valley man was arrested early Sunday in Kentucky after an extended chase that reached speeds of up to 128 mph, authorities said.

Donald Fox III, 18, of 1511 Boliver Road, faces charges linked to the chase that include attempted murder of a police officer, wanton endangerment, car theft, drunken driving and two counts of fleeing from police, one by foot and one by motor vehicle.

Shenandoah County authorities have also charged Fox in connection with the theft of a vehicle in Mount Jackson early Friday morning, and New Market police have described him as “a person of interest” in the theft of another vehicle, which was also reported stolen Friday morning.

The Sheriff’s Department in Laurel County, Kentucky, described Fox as “a dangerous fugitive” in a written statement issued after he was taken into custody.

Kentucky authorities said the chase began when the vehicle Fox was driving, a 1996 Toyota Camry, ran a red light and hit another vehicle at an intersection. The Sheriff’s Department said Fox drove the Camry another two miles before damage from the crash disabled it, and he fled on foot.

The Sheriff’s Department said investigators later learned that the Camry had been reported stolen out of Virginia.

A police officer chased Fox around a building, but Fox jumped into the officer’s squad car and fled the scene, the Sheriff’s Department said. A Kentucky State Police trooper picked up the chase at speeds estimated at more than 100 mph, authorities said.

A sheriff’s deputy joined the chase and took over as the lead pursuit vehicle. The deputy tried a maneuver intended to abruptly turn the fleeing car sideways, causing the driver to lose control and stop.

The Sheriff’s Department said Fox regained control of the squad car, then took off again “driving extremely recklessly in the opposing lane of traffic and passing a Laurel County ambulance.”

The Sheriff’s Department said speeds reached 128 mph before Fox’s stolen police cruiser came to a stop and the pursuing deputy boxed in the cruiser. After the deputy left his cruiser, Fox drove the police cruiser toward the deputy and narrowly missed hitting him, the Sheriff’s Department said. The deputy fired three shots at one of the rear tires on the cruiser, but it kept going until the rear tire blew out, which forced Fox to drive on the rim, authorities said.

The vehicular part of the chase ended when the deputy hit the rear of the fleeing car and performed a bumping maneuver that disabled the cruiser, the Sheriff’s Department said.

The Sheriff’s Department said Fox dashed on foot from the passenger side door of the cruiser and leaped over a guardrail. The deputy gave chase on foot and finally subdued Fox with the help of a Taser during what the Sheriff’s Department called a brief scuffle.

The Sheriff’s Department said Fox was found to be “under the influence and told officers he would have done whatever it took to elude police.”

Fox was hospitalized for treatment of injuries received during the crash that preceded the chase, the Sheriff’s Department said.

Law enforcement officials from the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office and New Market police connected Fox with two vehicle thefts on Friday, two days before the incident in Kentucky.

Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Darcy Dellinger said Fox has been charged with grand larceny car theft in his jurisdiction.

“We received a report of a 2006 Toyota Corolla taken in the 7000 block of South Middle Road in Mount Jackson,” Dellinger said, adding that sheriff’s deputies received the notification around 7 a.m.

New Market police Sgt. Chris Rinker described Fox as “a person of interest” in a vehicle theft investigation that was triggered by a report received Friday morning by his department.

Rinker said Fox has not been charged.

“We need to contact the Commonwealth’s Attorney to see if charges are going to be placed,” Rinker said. “It’s an active investigation at this time.”

Dellinger said Fox is scheduled to appear in Shenandoah County General District Court at 11 a.m. Feb. 13, although the long list of offenses he is facing in Kentucky may prevent him from doing so.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com