CABARRUS CO., NC (WJZY) - A man had to be taken to a local hospital after authorities blocked his vehicle, ending a high speed chase Thursday morning in Cabarrus County.
A county spokesperson said it all started at 9:30 a.m. Thursday when a sheriffs' deputy noticed a suspicious vehicle and discovered it had stolen tags.
The deputy attempted to delay making a stop on the stolen car by himself, and as he was waiting for back up to arrive, the two suspects in the stolen car immediately pulled into a random driveway and stopped.
Although the deputy tried to delay the stop until back up was closer, he was forced to activate his blue light and command a stop.
The Sheriff's Office said the deputy communicated with the driver and passenger from a short distance and for a brief moment. The driver seemed very nervous and fidgety, and swiftly floored the gas to flee, leaving his passenger in the driveway.
According to deputies with the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office, the chase ended at the intersection of Poplar Tent Road and Odell School Road.
According to the Sheriff's Office, at least two of the deputies exited their patrol cars at some point in an attempt to get the driver out of the stolen car. The suspect used the car to crash into the patrol cars, at which on several occasions, nearly struck the deputies.
As the suspect car was being used as a deadly weapon towards the officers, one deputy fired his firearm through the front glass, striking the suspect at least one time in the shoulder and neck region of his body.
The deputies immediately rendered first aid to the suspect and EMS later transported him to the hospital.
The suspect has been identified as Joseph Jermaine Mercer, who is in his early 40’s, and from Davidson. He is reported to be in stable condition at the hospital with the possibility of being released Friday or Saturday.
The earlier passenger of the stolen vehicle was identified as Robert Graham, in his late 40’s, of Concord. Graham was very cooperative. He was questioned and later released by authorities, with no charges expected at this time.
The NC State Bureau of Investigation was immediately called in to investigate the incident. No deputies were injured. As standard protocol, the officer involved in the shooting, Deputy Matthew Pethel, is on Administrative duty until the completion of the investigation.
Sheriff Riley stated that in a written statement Thursday, “It is apparent to the investigators that the suspect was involved in criminal activity, maybe even beyond being in a stolen car; and that he attempted to use the car as a deadly weapon, that placed grave harm on the deputies lives.”
Charges against the suspect will be forthcoming after further discussion with the District Attorney, according to the Sheriff's Office.