Wild car chase leads to arrest

Man racks up nearly 20 charges
Mar. 25, 2014 @ 08:12 AM

Charges continue to pile up against a man accused of leading officers on a high-speed chase nearly two weeks ago.

Thomas Joe Braswell, 36, of Weed Lane in Lenoir is in the Caldwell County jail facing a total of 19 charges from the chase and from the fight with his girlfriend that led investigators to him.

An agent with N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement tried to pull over a green Honda sedan on March 14 around 8:30 p.m. near the Gas N Go on Blowing Rock Boulevard, ALE assistant special agent Mike Yates said.

"We saw him doing something, which we cannot disclose, that warranted the traffic stop," Yates said.

The Honda didn't stop, heading south and passing through Smith Crossroads. ALE agent Jonathan Marley called for assistance from Lenoir police, and a nearby officer joined in the chase. The officers chased the Honda down Joyceton Church Road, Norwood Stasta Lane, Friendswood Street, Swanson Drive and Central Drive, at one point reaching 75 mph, Lenoir Police Capt. Couby Stilwell said.

The Honda then went off the road and traveled through several yards along Lincoln Lane, then got back on Central Drive, then Maywood Drive, where it again left the road and drove through more yards, Stillwell said. The Honda got on Vine Street, left the road and plowed through two sections of chain link fence, got on Lincoln Lane and then took to a side street, now being pursued by a total of five patrol cars.

Lenoir police dropped out as the chase left the city and moved to Walt Arney Road, where Marley was joined by deputies of the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office.

The Honda finally wrecked on Bud Run, but when the pursuing officers arrived the driver was gone. The car was registered to Braswell.

The next morning, March 15, sheriff's deputies were called to an argument at the home of Braswell's girlfriend. Braswell was arrested and charged with assault on a female, auto larceny, possession of stolen motor vehicle, obtaining property by false pretenses and non-support of a child by a parent. His bonds were set at a total of $22,000.

It wasn't until Sunday, more than a week later, that Braswell was served with a litany of charges from the car chase: felony fleeing to elude arrest, four counts of hit and run and leaving the scene of property damage, four counts of injury to real property, driving while license revoked, reckless driving with wanton disregard for the safety of others, failure to stop at a red light, and resisting an officer. A secured bond of $75,000 was set.