Citizen to criminal: 'Welcome to Claremont'

A local criminal felt the bitter taste of citizen justice late Monday night after running from the law in Claremont.

Police say a Claremont resident helped end a foot chase through town about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, when he knocked out a suspect on the run.

Claremont Police Chief Gerald Tolbert said one of his officers started tailing a suspicious driver about midnight Tuesday after noticing the car swerving and driving with its lights off.

He said CPD Officer Allen Long attempted to pull the suspect’s car over shortly thereafter on Depot Street, but the driver, Johnny Arthur Clark, didn’t stop.

Long chased the Clark's car along Depot Street until the driver pulled off the road near Woody Lane and exited the vehicle.

Clark then ran across a field adjacent to Woody Lane near the residence of Daniel Pair.

Pair, a Claremont resident, was doing some late-night gardening outdoors when he heard the foot chase approaching his home.

Tolbert said Pair noticed the officer in pursuit, jumped up from his garden and ran toward the chase. Then, just before Clark noticed the late-night gardener running toward him, Tolbert said Pair came out of the darkness and “T-boned” Clark, clothes-lining him to the ground.

As officers quickly arrived, Tolbert said Pair only had three words for the man on the run, “Welcome to Claremont.”

Clark, 39, of Catawba, was arrested and charged with DWI, careless and reckless driving, resisting public officer and simple possession of schedule II controlled substance.

Tolbert said he’s thankful for the citizen’s help, but said interfering in a chase can be dangerous. He said both Pair and Clark sustained minor injuries in the collision.

“It’s wonderful. We don’t want people to get hurt, but he saw he could assist police and he did so,” Tolbert said.