New York man faces charges after Interstate 81 pursuit ends in accident, injuries

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Virginia State Police has charged a New York resident following a pursuit and crash in Augusta County.

Rashid C.R. Merchant-Bey, 23, of New York, N.Y., is being held at Middle River Regional Jail on one felony count of eluding police.

The incident began at approximately 2:20 a.m. on Thursday, when Virginia State Police Trooper Z.J. Blevins recorded on radar a Dodge Charger traveling north on Interstate 81 at 90 mph in the posted 70 mph zone.

Blevins activated his vehicle’s emergency lights and sirens to initiate a traffic stop near the 215 mile marker, but the Dodge refused to stop and sped away at a high rate of speed.

The Dodge took Exit 217 at a high rate of speed and ran through the intersection at the end of the ramp. The car continued off the road and through the guardrail, became airborne and then struck an embankment.

Merchant-Bey was transported to Augusta Health for treatment of serious, but non-life threatening, injuries.

An adult male passenger was transported to UVA Medical Center for treatment of life-threatening injuries.

Additional charges are pending consultation with the Commonwealth’s Attorney, as the investigation remains ongoing.


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