Police chase driver arrested
A man critically injured a month ago when he wrecked a car into the Lenoir Fire Station while speeding away from police went free out of the hospital two weeks ago without the Lenoir Police Department being notified, but investigators found him Thursday.
Ryan Oneal Jeffries, 37, of 16 Harmon Circle in Asheville was supposed to go into physical rehabilitation after his release from the hospital, but he did not do so. Police planned to arrest him after his rehabilitation, but they were not told he did not go to rehabilitation, Capt. Couby Stilwell of the Lenoir Police Department said.
"We wanted to give him a chance to heal up first before we arrested him," he said.
Officers knew Jeffries might be in the Black Mountain area, where he has family. He was arrested at a gas station in Black Mountain on Thursday evening and brought back to Caldwell County. Lenoir police, the Buncombe and McDowell sheriff's offices, Black Mountain police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency assisted with the arrest.
Jeffries is charged with nine counts trafficking in heroin or opium, possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine, failure to stop for blue lights and siren, driving while license revoked, reckless driving to endanger, and speeding to elude arrest. He was jailed under a $250,000 secured bond.
A passenger in his car, Vanessa Mae Snyder, 32, of 6500 N.C. 226 South in Nebo, previously was charged with six counts of trafficking opiates by possession, sales or transportation, maintaining a vehicle for selling a controlled substance, and possession with intent to make, sell or deliver cocaine, all felonies.
Police say that on Oct. 8, Jeffries and Snyder sold undercover officers 58 dosage units of morphine, 55 dosage units of Hydrocodone, 20 dosage units of Oxycodone and 10.9 grams of crack cocaine, with a total street value of $4,340, at a site near the intersection of Hickory Boulevard near McLean Drive. Afterward, officers in unmarked vehicles followed the silver Chrysler Sebring that Jeffries and Snyder were in for about a mile before trying to pull the car over at Smith's Crossroads.
Instead, Jeffries sped away on Harper Avenue, but at Ridge Street the car went over the median and wrecked into a bay door at the fire station, narrowly missing several firefighters. The car struck a rescue truck and damaged it.
Both Jeffries and Snyder were taken to Caldwell Memorial Hospital. Jeffries was then flown to Carolinas Medical Center, where for a time he was in critical condition.