Robbery suspect arrested after high speed chase
A Greenville, South Carolina, man took authorities on a high speed chase Monday after attempting to rob three businesses at gunpoint. Each agency in the county became involved in the chase that reached speeds of at least 105 miles per hour, beginning in Waynesville and ending in a crash in downtown Canton.
Around noon, Rowland Fuller, 27, first attempted to rob Taco Bell in Clyde by driving to the window at the drive through and pointing a rifle at the clerk. The employee immediately closed the window and retreated to another part of the restaurant, at which point Fuller drove away, said Det. James Marsh with the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office. Employees at the restaurant, however, did not call authorities right away.
Minutes later he also attempted to rob McDonald’s on Russ Avenue in the same manner, but employees there reacted by retreating as well, and he drove away without any money.
McDonald’s employees called police, who began canvassing the area for Fuller unsuccessfully until they received a call about 45 minutes later that a robbery occurred at nearby Staples, said Waynesville Police Chief Bill Hollingsed.
Fuller had entered the store without his weapon and ran out the door without paying for a basket full of items. Lt. Brian Beck with the Waynesville Police Department was the first to attempt to make a traffic stop against Fuller, who was driving a stolen light blue Dodge Charger Magnum.
Fuller proceeded to drive at a high speed to onto the highway heading toward Balsam. At one point, he even crossed the median into oncoming traffic, said Hollingsed.
Three Waynesville police cars attempted to block the vehicle at the rest area and Fuller rammed his car into two police cars, totaling Beck’s and severely damaging another. Beck was taken to the hospital but has since been released and allowed back to work.
Fuller changed direction and headed east on Interstate 40 until taking Exit 31. He eventually wrecked at the entrance of Evergreen Packaging near Bridge Street in downtown Canton, where he ran into a utility pole. He immediately exited the car and ran to a nearby parking lot, where he attempted to steal car keys from a woman. Officers were then surrounded him in the parking lot, Tased and apprehended him.
Fuller faces a slew of charges from multiple agencies in the county which include fleeing to elude police, armed robbery, larceny, providing false information to police, assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a stolen vehicle out of Greenville, South Carolina.
Hollingsed said because of the time of day, the traffic on the highway was congested and it was a relief that no one was injured.
"Nobody likes to be involved in these things and this guy placed an awful lot of people in danger," said Hollingsed.
But authorities decided to chase him because of the severity of his alleged crimes.
"You have to weigh whether to chase or not based on the seriousness of this guy’s crime. It was a tough call, but considering the violence he showed toward the public and our officers, that's why we decided to pursue. This guy is somebody who doesn't need to be out on the streets," said Hollingsed.
The sheriff’s office is also charging him with felony attempted robbery from Taco Bell. Other possible charges could be forthcoming from North Carolina Highway Patrol.
He is also wanted out of Greenville, South Carolina for possession of marijuana and cocaine and for eluding police Saturday after stealing the vehicle and fleeing.
Fuller is currently in jail under $250,000 secured bond.