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Suspect pleads guilty in Danville chase; authorities say speeds reached as high as 110 miles per hour

Suspect pleads guilty in Danville chase; authorities say speeds reached as high as 110 miles per hour

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A Danville man pleaded guilty to charges in an October incident that involved a high-speed chase through Danville reaching speeds as fast as 110 miles per hour.

George Lee Hairston III, 35, of Danville, pleaded guilty to felony eluding law enforcement and reckless driving, a misdemeanor, during a short trial in Danville Circuit Court on Thursday morning. Between the two charges, the maximum jail time Hairston could face is six years.

Hairston will be sentenced on Aug. 25.

During the short trial, Danville Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Edward Palmore explained that police were alerted on Oct. 3 about an alleged shooting and managed to locate Hairston’s car, which matched the description and was heading west on Riverside Drive.

Once officers confirmed it was the correct vehicle, three police vehicles formed up and attempted to stop the suspect.

Video from one of the officer’s dash cameras played in court on Thursday shows one police car get in front of a black pickup truck, which Palmore said was Hairston’s, and stop in the left lane of Riverside. The pickup truck is then seen plowing through the median around the apparent blockade, at which point the officers really pick up speed.

Palmore said officers went at least 90 miles per hour and court documents suggest Hairston went as fast as 110 miles per hour. Minutes later, after running several red lights and nearly colliding with a tractor trailer, Hairston stopped his car and ran inside a Belair Drive home, where he was later arrested.

Joe Garret, Hairston’s attorney, said that Hairston “was going to see his mother.”

But shooting charges — which is why the police were after him in the first place — remain dropped after the witness never showed up for a hearing in December and investigators still have not been able to locate him.​ Hairston was the suspect in a report of shots fired at the 200 block of Northmont Boulevard that same night. A witness told police that Hairston shot at him following an argument and then drove away, later leading police on a high-speed chase, court documents state.

During a December preliminary hearing, the court granted a nolle prosequi motion, which means that the charges have been dropped but can be filed again.

Ayers reports for the Register & Bee. Reach him at (434) 791-7981.

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