Police: Chesterfield man tried to rape woman before fiery interstate crash

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- The man involved in a fiery crash on Interstate 85 in Petersburg Tuesday morning was charged with attempting to rape a woman in Chesterfield County.

Antwine D. Shell, 33, was arrested following the crash that backed up traffic for miles in both directions.

Antwine Shell

Police received a call just after 6 a.m. Tuesday that a man, later identified as Shell, had attempted to sexually assault a worker at the adult group home where he lived.

When another resident at the group home intervened, the woman was able to get away.

Shell then got into a black Dodge Caravan parked at the home along the 6900 block of Hickory Road, and drove off, police said.

"The owner of that stolen vehicle got into another vehicle and followed Shell; the owner stayed on the phone with police throughout the incident," a Chesterfield Police spokeswoman said.

Shell drove into Petersburg and stopped at the Produce Center on Boydton Plank Road where he then stole a truck, police said.

"When my worker turned around, the gentleman [hit] him in the jaw," Dee Short, owner of Short's Lawn Care, said. "Then the dude jumped in. The keys were there, and then gone."

The truck was loaded with lawnmowers and other pieces of lawn care equipment.

Short estimated that $100,000 worth of lawn care equipment was lost in the fire.

Dee Short's work truck

Dee Short's work truck

"[Dinwiddie] Deputies encountered the vehicle near the intersection of Boydton Plank Road and Cox Road (Route 460). Upon attempting to stop the vehicle the vehicle fled from deputies and headed north on Interstate 85 into the City of Petersburg where it crashed and erupted into flames," Dinwiddie Sheriff's Major William Knott said. "Shell, of Court Street, in South Chesterfield, was arrested at the scene after a brief struggle with deputies."

Shell faces the following charges:

  • Strangulation
  • Attempted rape
  • Felony eluding law enforcement
  • Grand larceny (2x)
  • Misdemeanor assault (3x)

Shell was booked Meherrin River Regional Jail where he is being held without bond.