A Newport man who refused to stop his vehicle for a sheriff’s deputy died in a head-on crash Tuesday night in Havelock, according to the N.C. Highway Patrol.
Jeremy M. Banas, 41, was killed when his Chevy S10 pickup truck collided with a Ford F350 driven by Charles Smith, 63, of Havelock, around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The wreck happened on East Main Street near the intersection with Cunningham Boulevard.
According to Capt. Mark Weaver, of the Craven County Sheriff’s Office, the incident began at 7:12 p.m. when deputies were alerted to be on the lookout for a white Chevy S10 pickup that was driving carelessly and recklessly on N.C. 101.
“The person that called it in said that the S10 had struck a bridge in Carteret County and had continued driving westbound on 101,” Weaver said.
He said a deputy spotted the truck, got behind it and turned on his blue lights and sirens, but Banas did not stop.
Weaver said at one point the deputy pulled in front of the pickup in an attempt to box it in.
“The suspect vehicle hit the back of a deputy patrol car and then the suspect vehicle went down Roosevelt Boulevard towards Highway 70," Weaver said. "There was a lot of turning around and back and forth. The driver finally turned onto Main Street in Havelock going east in the westbound lanes. Our car continued in the eastbound lanes going east.”
Weaver said he did not know exactly how fast Banas was driving but that it was at a high-rate of speed. He said Banas struck Smith, a part-time police officer for Havelock, right in front of the Havelock Police Department.
“He pulled into the oncoming traffic with no regard to himself or others and intentionally hit a vehicle head on,” Weaver said of Banas. “Apparently he didn’t swerve. He didn’t appear to avoid the vehicle.”
Havelock Police Chief G. Wayne Cyrus said his officers played a limited role in the incident and responded in support of the sheriff's office.
"Our officers were not actively involved in the pursuit," he said.
According to the N.C. Highway Patrol, Banas was wearing a seatbelt and the airbag in his vehicle deployed.
Smith was treated and released from CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern, according to the highway patrol.
The highway patrol did not release any further information except to say no troopers were involved in the incident prior to the crash.
Weaver said there was no indication that alcohol was involved.
Weaver said that there was nothing irregular about the chase and that the deputy involved was still an active member of the sheriff’s office.