Nelson County sheriff deputies assisted Virginia State Police in Thursday's traffic stop turned manhunt.
What started with an expired inspection sticker quickly turned into a manhunt in Nelson County near Afton. Virginia State Police and Nelson County sheriff's deputies spent much of Thursday searching for two men who ran after being pulled over during a routine traffic stop.
That stop along Route 151, not far from Rockfish River Elementary School, prompted a safety lockdown there and at some nearby businesses. State police have now called off a search for those two men in Afton, but for several hours Thursday police were concerned enough to bring out helicopters to track them down.
"The trooper attempted to stop the vehicle," explained Virginia State Police's Sgt. Gregory Miller "The vehicle immediately turned up this private driveway and increased its speed up there [and] came to the top of the hill at this house."
That is when the driver and one of the other two passengers got out of the red 1980 Ford pickup and fled on foot. State police say the truck rolled back into the police cruiser causing minor damage, but the one person in the truck who did not flee says it is a misunderstanding.
"They said that we were speeding," stated passenger Jose Rodriguez. "And that's why they stopped us but the guy, his car doesn't have brakes."
"There were definitely some equipment problems with the truck," concurred Miller.
Police say they also found alcohol and a small amount of marijuana in the truck. As state troopers looked for the two men, Nelson County police locked down nearby Rockfish River Elementary School.
"It's due to the close proximity of the school," stated Nelson County Sheriff David Brooks. "We have two guys on foot and we don't know why they're running. It's about the safety of the kids and the staff here."
Police do not think the school was threatened, but they played it safe. State police expect to wrap up this case quickly.
"We're still looking for them," said Miller. "We're going to look a little while longer but we think we know who the driver is at this point."
State police say they called off the search because they do not believe the two men pose a public safety threat. They are fairly certain they know who these guys are but want to be sure before releasing that information to the public.