2 arrested after high-speed chase

Two men were arrested Monday after allegedly robbing a store then leading police on a high-speed, three-county chase.

Daniel Ray Williams, 37, of Lincolnton, and James Hill, 39, of Winston-Salem, face charges of armed robbery and speeding to elude, said Hickory Police Maj. Clyde Deal.

The men allegedly walked into the Dollar General store on U.S. 70 SW in Hickory about 8:15 a.m. Monday and demanded money from the clerk. Deal said the men displayed a gun and were wearing fake beards to conceal their identities.

Deal said he didn't know exactly what was said between the store clerk and the robbers, and he doesn't know if the men threatened violence or simply asked for money. Deal did know, however, that no one in the store was injured during the robbery.

Williams and Hill allegedly stole an undisclosed amount of money from the store before leaving the scene in a blue Nissan Altima. Witnesses saw the men leave the store and alerted police where the men appeared to be traveling.

Deal said police followed the suspects' vehicle, which stopped for fuel at a gas station on U.S. 321 before heading into Caldwell County. The vehicle chase started at 8:22 a.m. and continued from Catawba County through Caldwell County and into Alexander County.

"At points, they reached more than 70 mph," Deal said.

Police placed "stop sticks" in the roadway to flatten tires on the suspects' vehicle, because the driver, Williams, refused to stop and didn't appear to be slowing down.

"They had to have some help," Deal said.

The stop sticks, also known as spike strips, generally contain metal barbs to puncture tires and prevent the vehicle from traveling further.

Monday's high-speed chase lasted about 47 minutes.

Hill was in the vehicle's passenger seat, and no one else was inside the car.

After stopping the vehicle, police recovered the stolen money, as well as a handgun allegedly used during the armed robbery. Deal said police also located a BB gun taped under one of the seats in the car, as well as the beards used during the robbery.

No other vehicles were involved in the chase, and no one was injured.

Law enforcement officers from various police departments assisted with the chase, including the North Carolina Highway Patrol, Caldwell and Alexander county sheriff's deputies and the Granite Falls Police Department.

Police arrested the men, and they were taken to Catawba County jail.

Williams and Hill will appear before a magistrate Wednesday and have their bonds set. Bond amounts weren't available as of press time Monday.

Deal said additional charges against Williams and Hill are pending.