On 1/6/10, at approximately 5:15 a.m., the Fayetteville Police Department received a complaint of a black male looking into vehicles. A short time later, the Department received a call from the same complainant stating that her husband was following the suspect vehicle. As a result, officers responded to the area and eventually located the suspect, who was driving a silver Ford F-150. The officers attempted to initiate a traffic stop, but the suspect refused to stop. As a result, a vehicle pursuit was initiated.
As the pursuit moved towards Pamalee and Cain Road, two officers with marked patrol cars and blue lights flashing blocked off the intersection to reduce the likelihood of other vehicles being struck by the suspect vehicle. Unfortunately, a 2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser, driven by John Velandra, failed to yield to the officers at the scene and entered the intersection when the light in his direction of travel turned green. Shortly after entering the intersection, the suspect vehicle struck Mr. Velandra. After the collision, the suspect ran from the vehicle and Mr. Velandra was transported to Cape Fear Valley where he was pronounced dead.
Due to the circumstances surrounding the case, the incident is being investigated by the Department's Traffic Unit with the assistance of the Homicide Unit. Pursuant to standard policy and procedure, the Department is also conducting an Administrative Investigation. The officers involved in the pursuit will be placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the Administrative Investigation. Further information regarding the criminal investigation will be disseminated as it becomes available. If you have any additional questions, please contact Theresa Chance at 910-433-1896.