Driver in June chase pleads

Dec. 03, 2013 @ 06:00 PM

John Thomas Mann Jr. was sentenced to serve four to seven years in prison on Tuesday by a Vance County Superior Court judge.

Mann was the driver of car involved in a high-speed chase on June 24 which ended with a Vance County deputy, Sgt. Tony Wallace, shooting Mann at a Flemingtown Road boat launch area.

Mann appeared before Superior Court Judge George Collins Jr. with his attorney, David Waters, alongside. He accepted a plea deal which Allison Capps, an assistant district attorney, confirmed was also agreed upon by Wallace and other deputies.

Mann, 25, accepted guilt on three felony counts out of 11 charges against him. He will serve three consecutive terms of 15-27 months each on convictions of breaking and entering, felony flee to elude and obtaining property by fraud.

The charges dropped included felony assault of a government official, larceny of a motor vehicle, reckless driving, driving while license revoked, larceny, possession of stolen goods, attempted breaking and entering and conspiracy to break and enter.

Mann, of 141 Spain Road, Middleburg, where he resided with his mother, had been jailed on $46,000 bond while awaiting trial since June 24, with an additional $50,000 bond set from the other cases.

According to Capps, surveillance footage showed Mann and another white male rummaging through Wayne Lancaster’s automotive shop on Gun Club Road in 2012.

The investigation resulted in a warrant that deputies were eager to serve after hearing about Mann driving off in his mother’s 2007 Dodge Caliber the morning of June 24.

An unauthorized use of a motor vehicle warrant was added to the list of matters to bring Mann in on, according to Capps.

“Deputies were on the lookout,” Capps said. “They saw Mann and activated their blue lights. He did not stop. He was driving in excess of 55 miles per hour and ran several stop signs.”

Deputies deployed stop sticks, but the effort failed the first time. They diverted him into the no-outlet area off Jacksontown Road, then Mann drove to the boat launch area at the end of Flemingtown Road.

Capps said Mann was weaving among pursuit vehicles in the parking area. Deputies deployed stop sticks again, this time catching at least one tire. Mann began driving faster and more erratically, then drove his disabled vehicle into the woods.

Mann pointed his vehicle at Wallace, who had two deputies behind him as the vehicle approached.

“At that particular time, Sgt. Wallace shot two times, hitting Mann in the shoulder area,” Capps said.

Wallace was placed on administrative leave until cleared by an SBI report.

Waters asked Collins for vocational and substance abuse programs to be available for Mann while incarcerated in state prison.

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.