A Florida fugitive was arrested Thursday afternoon following a lengthy police pursuit involving Chilhowie, Glade Spring, Damascus and Washington County law enforcement.
Chilhowie Police Chief Andrew Moss said Officer Gage Prater was monitoring speed on West Lee Highway when he clocked a Chevrolet Blazer traveling west at 49 mph in the 35 mph zone. Prater attempted to stop the vehicle, Moss said, but the driver instead gave chase, reaching speeds of 70 mph by the time the officer caught up to it at the town's limits. Entering into Washington County, a Glade Spring officer and a Washington County deputy joined the pursuit.
With Washington County leading the chase, the Blazer hit Route 91 heading toward Damascus hitting speeds of 100 mph sometimes through school zones, Moss said. Once in Damascus, a Damascus officer deployed spike strips, flattening two of the Blazer’s tires and ending the pursuit just passed Holston High School.
The driver of the vehicle, 30-year-old John Joseph Kudelka, of Florida, was taken into custody and charged in Smyth County with reckless driving and eluding police. He faces additional charges, including being a fugitive from justice, in Washington County.
Moss extended his appreciation to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and the Glade Spring and Damascus police departments for their assistance.