DUNN, North Carolina — The man charged with escaping police after a crash scene that closed northbound lanes of Interstate 95 in Harnett County Thursday evening made his first court appearance and denied his right to a court-appointed attorney.
Raymond Lee Bryant Jr., 44, of Roseboro, has charges of driving while impaired, felony speeding to elude, resisting a public official and failure to heed to blue light and sirens.
He was driving a white 1996 Ford Ranger in a reckless manner. Bryant caused a wreck around 4:20 p.m. in Harnett County. According to initial reports, he crashed into a car with his truck.
He then got out of his truck and shot into the driver’s side window of a tractor-trailer. The trailer had stopped due to the crash, Sheriff Wayne Coats said during a press conference Thursday night.
Bryant Fled Crash Scene in Stolen Vehicle
The driver and passenger exited the tractor-trailer, and Bryant unsuccessfully tried to steal the tractor-trailer. Then, he stole a pickup truck at gunpoint and fled north on I-95.
Highway Patrol said Bryant, who had two shotguns in his possession at the time, was taken into custody without incident near mile marker 149 in Nash County. Authorities also seized 11 ounces of marijuana from Bryant.
No one was injured, but the potential for serious injury was extremely high. After all, nobody shoots a gun at another person without intending to seriously hurt them. That risk was also increased by Bryant’s possession, and likely use, of drugs while driving. Clearly, the man had at best a complete disregard for the safety of others.
He was being held under a $75,000 bond, and his next court appearance is scheduled for May 17. If convicted on the charges, Bryant could face up to 42 months in prison. Now that he’s waived his right to a lawyer, that outcome seems quite likely.