Caroline County, Va. (WTVR) - It’s one of the most complicated and controversial calls any law enforcement officer can make: whether to start a pursuit for a violation or to just let it be.
Recently, deputies say a man driving through Caroline County decided to put himself and others at risk, including the county’s top cop, whom he narrowly missed.
"I called 1080-in pursuit."
That radio transmission caused Deputy Dean Cable to do a double take. "Over the radio the sheriff had begun a pursuit of a vehicle,” said Cable. “I had to listen twice to make sure I heard it correctly."
Sheriff Tony Lippa, a former Henrico cop and long-time state trooper, has made hundreds of traffic stops in his nearly 30-year career, some more memorable than others. "I looked in my rear view and saw he had a bad state inspection, said Lippa. "I exited my vehicle [from the travel lane] and told him to pull over."
That recent attempted roadside stop in Ruther Glen, is likely at the top of his list. "I again point at him to pull over and he shakes his head no, and goes around me."
Lippa says driver Jonathan Andrew Holmberg took off, coming close to side-swiping his cruiser, and even closer to hitting striping crews painting double yellow lines on the road. " I activated my lights and siren to let them know we were coming and the guy was driving on the wrong side of the road."
The pursuit, on this winding rural road quickly reached speeds over 60 miles-per-hour. But it only last a mile. “The pursuit didn't last long because he took the curve too fast and lost control."
Holmberg’s Ford Focus flipped over on the side of the curve. Lippa says he had been running because of the expired inspection tag, but also because he didn’t have a driver’s license or insurance, and had synthetic marijuana in his vehicle. Lippa says he put a half-dozen lives at risk when he hit the gas, instead of pulling over.
And here’s something to consider if you get a rejection sticker after a state inspection. You have 15 days to get things fixed, and that is time you can use to take your vehicle to a mechanic, but Lippa points out it is not a pass to drive your vehicle.