Havelock, Carteret authorities believe he has left area

Authorities believe the man who led police on a 20-mile chase from Havelock to Pelletier on June 30 has left the state.

Damon Evans “Moonshine” Kennedy, 42, of Greenville, drove away from a traffic stop in Havelock, eventually crashing his his vehicle and running into the woods near the Pelletier town hall in Carteret County.

The habitual felon who had previously served nine years in prison hasn’t been seen since.

“He is still wanted and we have reason to believe he has fled the state of North Carolina to either South Carolina, Tennessee or Kentucky,” Jason Wank, chief detective in the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office, said on Tuesday.

Kennedy ran off into the woods near the Croatan National Forest after leading police on a chase that included collisions with Carteret County Sheriff’s Office patrol cars.

Havelock and Carteret authorities have issued warrants for Kennedy on a variety of charges.

Kennedy and three other people were in a lime green Ford Escape stopped by Havelock Officer James MacRoberts at 6:25 p.m. June 30 behind a storage building at 322 E. Main St., according to Havelock Police Chief David Magnusson.

After running the plates, MacRoberts realized that the car was stolen and called for police backup when Kennedy took off in the vehicle.

“The guy takes off, and as he does, the girl in the front seat goes flying out the front door because of the speed and acceleration. She’s got bad road rash. Thankfully it’s not in the middle of a busy road at that point,” said Magnusson.

Havelock police began to chase the vehicle through Havelock, but Magnusson said heavy traffic prompted Sgt. Jeffrey Fedyna to call off the chase for the safety of other drivers. Havelock police contacted Newport and Carteret County authorities to be on the lookout for the vehicle.

Carteret deputies located the vehicle on N.C. 24 near the community of Ocean.

“They attempted to stop him and at that point he accelerated and the chase began from Highway 24, down Taylor Notion Road, down Highway 58 into the Pelletier area,” said Capt. Dennis Barber with the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office.

Speeds during the chase reached 85 mph, Barber said.

In the vicinity of Broad Creek, Kennedy stopped and let out a man and a woman who had been in the back seat of the vehicle. Kennedy then drove into several subdivisions in Pelletier trying to elude the police, Barber said. In the process, he struck a patrol car.

Barber said Kennedy drove through a couple of yards and got back on N.C. 58 where he eventually jumped out of the car and ran into the woods. Authorities were unable to locate him.

Barber said warrants have been drawn up for assault on law enforcement and eluding blue light and siren, possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of stolen property, as well as hit and run, and reckless driving.

“By just running into the vehicles, that’s considered assault on law enforcement,” Barber said.

Kennedy is alleged to have stolen the vehicle from South Carolina.

Magnusson said his department would be filing charges against Kennedy including fleeing to elude arrest, two felonious restraints, resisting and obstructing an officer and assault.

Barber said none of his deputies were injured in the collisions with the fleeing man, but were injured by briars during the foot chase in the woods while attempting to capture Kennedy.

Magnusson said the woman who was thrown or pushed from the front seat of the vehicle in Havelock after the initial stop was treated for “road rash” by Havelock Fire and Rescue EMTs.

The woman thrown from the vehicle, as well as the other man and woman let out of the vehicle in Carteret County, are considered victims by authorities and are not facing charges.

According to the N.C. Department of Corrections, Kennedy served nearly nine years in prison for being a habitual felon and for attempted larceny of a motor vehicle. He was released in May 2013.