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WYTHEVILLE — Authorities are searching for a 32-year-old Hillsville man accused of cutting a Wythe County deputy on Sunday while fleeing on foot, according to Wythe Chief Deputy Keith Dunagan.
Authorities identified the suspect as Cheston Stoneman.
The incident occurred at 1:40 a.m. Sunday, when the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a property owner asking deputies to check out trespassers who had built a fire.
When deputies responded to the Max Meadows location in the vicinity of the New River, they saw the fire and approached the people, Dunagan said. One of the men ran for the river.
When confronted by Deputy Zach Puckett, Stoneman allegedly “slashed” the law enforcement officer on the hand and then jumped into the river.
Puckett received stitches for the wound at the Wythe County hospital, where he was treated and released.
The people who were with Stoneman allegedly lied to deputies at first about his identity, but then told the truth, Dunagan said.
As a result, deputies charged the suspect’s brother, Taylor Stoneman, 18, of Hillsville, and Joy Lawrence, 31, of Galax, with making a false report and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. A 16-year-old female from Galax also was at the scene.
Stoneman was charged by warrant with felony malicious wounding, resisting arrest and contributing to delinquency of a minor, Dunagan said.
Alcohol and drug use are suspected of contributing to the situation, Dunagan said. He did not know why the people chose that spot in Wythe County for their fire.
Authorities will continue to search for Stoneman in the area. They believe he may be armed with a .38-caliber revolver.