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Henderson man flees police, causes serious accident
Jeffrey T. Clopton

FRANKLINTON -- A Henderson man surrendered to authorities last week after running from police on two separate occasions -- including the initial incident which caused a wreck that sent a couple to the hospital.

Franklinton Police charged Jeffrey Thomas Clopton with fleeing to elude arrest, felony hit and run, reckless driving to endanger, possession of stolen goods, possession of drug paraphernalia, speeding, driving while license revoked and following too closely.

According to authorities, Franklinton Police Officer Talia Bowden responded the afternoon of June 18 to a careless and reckless driving call on U.S. 1 and stopped the Chevy Impala near the intersection of U.S. 1-A North.

Upon approaching the vehicle, Bowden saw what appeared to be stolen tools in the car.

The driver, who identified himself as Clopton, told authorities that he did not have his license, but provided his name.

When Bowden returned to her car to check the information, Clopton pulled off in his vehicle.

A high-speed chase, involving Bowden and a Franklin County sheriff's deputy, ensued, but there were vehicles between the deputy and Clopton that prevented his capture, authorities said.

According to the report, Clopton apparently slammed on brakes, causing his car to slide into the southbound lane and into the path of an oncoming car.

"They t-boned him," Green said of the other vehicle, which contained a 78-year-old man and a 76-year-old woman, both from Franklinton.

Clopton's vehicle came to a rest in a ditch and he ran from the scene, authorities said.

"Officer Bowden went back to render aid to the couple in the car," Green said.

They both sustained serious injuries, Green said, but were expected to survive.

Authorities did not locate Clopton on June 18.

But, Green said Clopton and his family contacted the police department and arranged for his surrender on June 24 at the sheriff's office.

"He got out and took off running and got away," Green said.

Finally, on June 25, Green said another relative got Clopton to surrender without incident.

The 31-year-old was placed in the Franklin County Jail in lieu of a $110,000 bond.

That bond is a result of Franklinton charges, as well as charges levied by Wake and Vance counties.

Wake County authorities charged Clopton with larceny. Green said that during the chase, Franklinton police were made aware of tools that were stolen from a Home Depot in Wake Forest.

Vance County authorities charged Clopton with larceny, from a Jan. 27 event, and fleeing to elude arrest, failure to heed lights and sirens, reckless driving, fictitious registration, exceeding the posted speed limit and driving with a revoked license -- all stemming from a March 27 incident.

Clopton is next slated to appear in court on Aug. 5 to face the Franklin County charges.

His Vance and Wake county court dates are July 27 and Aug. 11, respectively.


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