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WYTHEVILLE — Virginia State Police say that a passenger in a fleeing car on Interstate 77 heaved bags of marijuana out of the vehicle while attempting to escape Wednesday afternoon.
The chase involving the Chevy Trailblazer that started near mile marker 31 on I-77 ended with a crash at the 16 mile marker in Carroll County, according to state police Sgt. Mike Conroy.
The incident started at about 1:53 p.m. when a trooper stopped the 2002 Trailblazer for an equipment violation.
The driver gave the trooper his license and paperwork with no trouble, Conroy said. Because the trooper smelled marijuana coming from the suspect vehicle, he called for assistance.
But the suspect decided not to stick around — he put the Trailblazer in gear and took off.
Near the I-77/I-81 interchange, the suspects headed north, but then cut back to the southbound lanes, Conroy said. Soon after taking off, police said the passenger started hurling something out of the vehicle that authorities said were about two-pound bricks of marijuana.
Conroy said that troopers, with help from Wythe deputies and game wardens, collected about 15 such packages, perhaps weighing as much as 40 pounds total.
That much marijuana would have a street value of about $50,000, he said.
Going southbound, the suspects managed to avoid a tire-deflation device near Exit 19 in Carroll, Conroy said. But going at high speeds, the driver soon lost control and crashed at the 16 mile marker.
The driver fled into the woods, but was caught by troopers who chased on foot.
Conroy identified the driver as Billy Scott Hall, 34, of Princeton, W.Va. The passenger was identified as Carl Jack Hall, 41, of Lexington, N.C.
Both men were charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, transporting more than five pounds of marijuana and felony eluding.
Carl Hall was also charged with throwing a missile at an occupied vehicle, for allegedly hurling the bags of marijuana out of the Trailblazer.
Conroy said police found that the license plates on the vehicle didn’t match its registration, but no charges have been filed for that.
Billy Hall had minor injuries from running through the brush, as did a couple of officers. Several participants in the chase were transported to hospitals in the area, including Twin County Regional Hospital, for treatment for minor injuries.