One person was jailed late Tuesday afternoon in connection with the traveling gun battle, and eventual wreck, that took place in the wee hours of Monday morning along N.C. 24 in Clinton’s city limits. Other arrests are expected.
Joseph Aaron Mack, 25, 104 Mack Joseph Lane, Roseboro, was taken into custody by Clinton police and State Bureau of Investigation agents and charged with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.
His bond was set at $225,000.
Police chief Jay Tilley said accident reconstruction investigators are reviewing data from the crime scene to determine the events in the collision. Once that is completed, more charges could be leveled.
Earlier in the day Tuesday, a Harrells woman’s condition was upgraded to fair even as Clinton police worked to corral those responsible for the accident that injured her and sent gunfire peeling into the early morning air along Sunset Avenue.
Cassandera Cuvilje remains in the surgical intensive care unit at Wake Med, recovering from injuries she received when the Ford 150 truck she and her husband Ray were traveling in Sunday morning was plowed into by an Acura Legend, forcing them to strike a telephone pole and overturn.
The Cuviljes were innocent victims in a chase that began following a dispute at a back-yard club in the county early Monday morning, one that escalated into a traveling gun battle down N.C. 24. The vehicles roared into Clinton’s city limits around 4:26 p.m., stopping only when one of the cars wrecked and more gunfire was exchanged between parties in the the Acura, believed to be carrying at least three people, and a white Pontiac later discovered and seized by police officers.
The truck’s driver, Ray Cuvilje, was treated and released for his injuries. Neither he nor his wife received any gunshot wounds.
But gunshots could be heard before daybreak Monday, an exchange believed to be between those in the two cars, a continuation of something started before the cars entered the city limits. The manager at a nearby BP Station said the clerk on duty that morning did not witness what happened but recalled hearing the crash and shots being fired.
The evidence of the early morning gun battle could be seen up and down a swath of N.C. 24 that began near Westover Road and continued to just underneath the U.S. 421/701 bypass where the Acura came to rest sideways in the road, its door smashed in and some of the contents of the vehicle mingled with other mangled metal along the highway.
Officers seized three weapons at the scene and found an array of shell casings strewn about on the pavement, an apparent indication of the shooting that occurred.
One of those in the Acura was reportedly shot during the exchange, a number decreased by one after medical personnel discovered that what was believed to be a gunshot wound on one of the suspects was actually shards of debris from the accident.
Although other suspect name have not yet been released, information from officers indicates all three suspects at the scene were taken to Sampson Regional Medical Center for treatment of their injuries and a fourth came to the hospital sometime after the shooting. It is not known yet which of the two suspect vehicles he had been in at the time of the incident. At least two of the suspects have since been airlifted to Wake Med.
As medical personnel continue to treat the suspects, police are hard at work trying to fit the pieces together that will bring the other arrests.
Tilley said he expects those arrests to be soon.
“We are close,” Tilley said of the investigation and the additional arrests.
Police investigators are also seeking the public’s help in the investigation. Anyone who might have information about the crimes is asked to contact the department at 910-592-3105 or the SBI at 910-486-1262.