‘What in the world?’: 20-mile police chase ends with stolen car on fire in downtown Morganton

A 20-mile police chase that spanned two counties ended with a car catching on fire in Morganton.

A man allegedly stole a car and wouldn’t pull over in Lenoir. A chase ensued and the car caught fire in downtown Morganton after being heavily damaged, police said.

Man accused of DWI in Burke County head-on crash faced similar charges in the past

“I was like, ‘What in the world?’” said Tim Sprouse, the owner of City Muffler. “The next thing I know, a car came by here and it was on fire. And I think every police officer in three counties was chasing it.”

Caldwell County deputies and officers in Morganton deployed stop sticks, flattening all four tires, but the driver didn’t stop causing the wheels on the stolen car to catch fire, public safety officers said.

“He was on fire,” witness Slim Williams said. “The passenger side tire was on fire. He was fishtailing and fishtailing. There were eight or nine cops behind him.”

The driver, Joshua McClure, ran off after the car caught fire but was arrested a short distance away, public safety officers said.

He was taken to a hospital to be checked out before being booked into the jail in Caldwell County.

Spouse said McClure should have pulled over for the police.

“You know that’s not worth risking people’s lives over,” Spouse said. “There are people all up and down these sidewalks here.”

McClure faces several charges, including stealing the vehicle, felony speeding to elude, and hit-and-run.

The bond was set at $50,000 for the car theft alone.

McClure already has previous convictions of possession of a schedule II controlled substance and attempted speeding to elude arrest, both felonies, according to our partners at the News Herald.

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