The Virginia State Police investigation continues into Thursday (May 9) morning’s series of events that started in Pulaski County with a pursuit and ended in the Town of Wytheville with an officer-involved shooting.
Early Friday morning (May 10), William R. Clark, 31, of Pulaski, Va., died at Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
The incident began around 1:40 a.m. Thursday when a Virginia State Police trooper was traveling south on Interstate 81 near the 98 mile marker In Pulaski County and located a 2008 Dodge pickup truck that had been reported stolen out of Pulaski County. The trooper pulled in behind the vehicle and activated his emergency lights to initiate a traffic stop.
Clark, the driver of that stolen pickup truck, refused to stop and sped away from the trooper. A pursuit was initiated, during which time Clark fired several shots at the state trooper’s vehicle. Fortunately, the trooper was not injured.
The pursuit continued south on I-81 and into the town of Wytheville, where the pursuit was terminated once the trooper lost sight of the stolen Dodge pickup. Clark abandoned the Dodge pickup truck on Barrett Mill Road and fled the scene on foot.
State police and the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office searched the area for the pursuit/stolen vehicle. At approximately 2:09 a.m., the abandoned Dodge pickup truck was located. State police K9 teams and aviation were called in to assist with searching for the stolen vehicle’s driver.
At approximately 3:45 a.m., Town of Wytheville Police stopped a suspicious vehicle on West Railroad Avenue. It was determined that the female driver of this vehicle, Charity F. Barton, 39, was acquainted with Clark and was driving around looking for him. Virginia State Police arrested Barton, with a last known address of Pulaski County, on multiple charges related to the methamphetamine and a semi-automatic rifle recovered from her vehicle. She is being held at New River Valley Regional Jail on the following charges:
1 count of possession of a Schedule I/II drug
1 count of possession of a Schedule I/II drug with the intent to distribute
1 count of possession of a concealed weapon
1 count of possession of a stolen firearm
1 count of possession of a firearm while in possession of a Schedule I/II drug
1 count of possession of a stolen license plate
Additional charges are pending further investigation.
During the course of the conversation between the Town of Wytheville Police Officer and Barton, a pursuit of a Ford F-350 pickup truck was initiated. The Ford pickup truck, driven by Clark, continued into the town limits, drove over an embankment and was headed to where town police were stopped out with Barton. During the course of this pursuit, the stolen Ford F-350 pickup truck rammed a Wythe County Sheriff’s Deputy and then intentionally hit head-on a Virginia State Police Trooper on West Railroad Avenue in Wytheville. Shots were fired at Clark by a Wythe County Sheriff’s Deputy and a Virginia State Police Trooper.
Clark was transported to Roanoke Memorial Hospital. A firearm was recovered from inside the black Ford F-350, which was stolen in Wythe County.
The Wythe County Sheriff’s Deputy and Virginia State Police Trooper who were struck were transported to Wythe Community Hospital, where they were both treated and released.
The incident and officer-involved shooting remain under investigation by the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Wytheville Field Office.
In accordance with State Police policy, the trooper involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave pending conclusion of the investigation. Charges are pending.