Hostage situation, chase forces police to briefly close Highway 321

Hostage situation, chase forces police to briefly close Highway 321

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by WCNC.com Staff

WCNC.com

Posted on May 2, 2013 at 9:42 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 3 at 8:30 PM

GASTONIA, N.C. -- Gastonia police closed Highway 321 near Interstate 85 Thursday night after an accident stemming from a police chase and hostage situation knocked out power along the major thoroughfare.

Police officers said that around 7:30 p.m. Freddie Lee Byrd assaulted a woman with a knife on East 4th Avenue.  As officers were on that call, police received another 911 call that Byrd had taken two women hostage in his car from a nearby store on Gaston Avenue.

Officers then rushed to that scene and encountered the suspect with the two women in his car. 

Police said Byrd then sped off from them north on Highway 321 in the southbound lanes at a high rate of speed.

During the chase the suspect threw one of the hostages from his vehicle, according to police.

Officers then stopped their pursuit to tend to that victim.

Moments later, Byrd crashed after he hit a utility pole and slid down an embankment, police said.

First responders were able to free the suspect and the remaining hostage from the car and rushed them to CaroMont Regional Medical Center.

Police said all four people involved -- including the original assault victim -- knew each other and that they were all in stable condition and would be OK.

Byrd faces several charges including assault and kidnapping.

Power was restored along one side of Highway 321 near Marietta Street around 10 p.m. The highway was also reopened late Thursday night.

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