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Highway Patrol says Troopers Were Right to Use Stop Sticks

April 16, 2002
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Highway Patrol says Troopers Were Right to Use Stop Sticks

WAYNESVILLE, N.C. (AP) - State troopers made the right decision to use tire-deflating "stop sticks" to end a high-speed chase on Interstate 40 in which a Michigan woman was killed, a Highway Patrol spokesman said.

"In this situation we believe the troopers made the right decision and we regret that Michele Curran lost her life," said Sgt. Everett Clendenin. "That was not our intention. Our intention was to reduce the threat to the motoring public.

"It's just unbelievable that these people take all kinds of risks and have no regard for human life in situations like this. This has had a devastating impact on all the officers involved in this pursuit," Clendenin said.

Bond was denied for the two suspects during a short hearing in Haywood County on Tuesday. Larry Winton Doyle Jr., 29, of Augusta, Ga., and Kathy Lynn Thompson, 27, of Clarks Hill, S.C. are charged with first-degree murder because the investigation shows they killed Curran, 26, while committing felony crimes, said Assistant District Attorney Alan Leonard.

Investigators said Doyle stole a 1999 Ford Excursion from an Asheville woman after putting a knife to her throat. He picked up Thompson and left the parking lot, authorities said.

Police tried to stop the truck, but Doyle and Thompson sped onto Interstate 40 west heading for Haywood County. At the county line, sheriff's deputies picked up the chase and followed the truck to Exit 24 where a Highway Patrol trooper tried to use "stop sticks" to end the chase. The stolen Ford swerved to miss the spikes and slammed into the back of a car in the right lane, killing Curran and injuring Gregory Wayne Shelby, both of Niles, Mich.

Ken Shelby, father of Curran's boyfriend, 30-year-old Gregory Wayne Shelby, said his son was recovering from the wreck at Mission St. Joseph's Health System and that his family is still in shock over Curran's death.

"She was just down here visiting some girlfriends and they were on their way home when this thing happened," he said.

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