PRINCETON — A highspeed chase involving wanted suspects, a stolen car and motorists being run off the road ended with the arrests of two people facing felony charges including gross child neglect, wanton endangerment and unlawful assault.
The chase occurred Monday afternoon when Chief Deputy Joe Parks of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department pursued a vehicle that was reported stolen earlier on Thorn Street in Princeton. The car went up Mount Horeb Road off U.S. Route 460 and continued down Clover Dew Dairy Road.
Parks said Tuesday that the driver ran five other vehicles off the road, and one instance was almost a head-on collision.
“The pursuit lasted only a minute, but it was getting so dangerous that I called it off after a minute,” Parks said.
The vehicle’s occupants left it after the pursuit was ended and attempted to flee on foot, but were apprehended, he stated. The driver, Mark David Hill, 37, of Spanishburg was facing a felony charge of fleeing from police with reckless indifference.
Parks said he would like to speak with people who were ran off the road during the incident. The Mercer County Sheriff’s Department can be reached at 304-487-8364. A Jennings .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol that was stolen from the vehicle was still missing. It has a black holster.
Hill and his wife, Carolyn Jean Hill, 31, also of Spanishburg, had outstanding warrants on felony charges of gross child neglect and wanton endangerment connected to a Jan. 7 incident in Spanishburg involving a child. Wills is facing an additional charge of unlawful assault related to the same case.
The Jan. 7 incident started when deputies responded to a call about a reported shooting at a Spanishburg home, according to Detective-Sergeant S.A. Sommers of the Mercer County Sheriff ’s Department.
“The complainant, Mark Hill, stated that his wife, Carolyn Hill, had a gunshot wound to the hip,” Sommers said in his criminal complaint. “Upon investigation, deputies were led to believe that Carolyn Hill had shot herself and was taken to Raleigh General Hospital.”
Sommers said that on the same day, a neighbor told him that a 5-yearold child had been present, and said that Mark and Carolyn Hill had been arguing and that Mark Hill had shot her. Sommers contacted Child Protective Services, which was granted emergency custody of the child.
Sommers said that he went to the Spanishburg home with several deputies to secure the child and arrest Mark Hill “for several outstanding warrants.” Hill was found in the home hiding under a sheet.
After being taking to the sheriff’s department and waiving his Miranda Rights, Hill provided a statement, Sommers said. Mill said that he and Carolyn Hill had used a controlled substance the evening prior to the incident. Hill said that he was asleep and “was woke up by Carolyn pointing the pistol at his head, asking him where her medicine was.” The child was present in the room.
Mark Hill said during the interview that Carolyn “told him if he didn’t find it she was going to fill him,” Sommers stated in the report. “She continues to yell at him and he stands up and slowly got closer to her. Once close enough, he slapped the gun away from his face and they began wrestling during which time the firearm discharged, striking her.”
Sommers reviewed the Child Protective Services forensic interview with the child. The child described the gun as silver in color and “that Mark had shot Carolyn, but it was unclear if it was during the struggle. She was descriptive in IV needle use, stating that they get their blood out of the needle and do some crazy stuff.”
Sommers said that he sought warrants for Mark Hill and Carolyn Hill. They had not been formally charged, and were not around their home, he said. Warrants were issued for them.
Mark Hill is being held at the Southern Regional Jail on a $70,000 cash or surety bond. Carolyn Hill was at the same jail on a $20,000 cash or surety bond. Other charges relating to the pursuit Monday were pending.
A third person, Lori Merek, no age available, of Mercer County was arrested after Monday’s chase, Parks said. She was charged with fleeing from police on foot, and was bonded out later.
— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline. com