Schools released after lockdown

Published 10:03 pm Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Students at two public elementary schools in Suffolk were released after a brief lockdown Wednesday afternoon that resulted when a police chase that had begun in Chesapeake finally ended in a crash and foot chase in Suffolk.

Chesapeake police initiated a stop of a vehicle in their city and contacted Suffolk’s Emergency Communications at 1:58 p.m., when the vehicle entered Suffolk on Pughsville Road, city spokeswoman Diana Klink said.

Chesapeake police spokeswoman Kelly O’Sullivan said police initially attempted a routine traffic stop at 1:50 p.m. near the intersection of Homestead Road and South Military Highway. Late Wednesday, the suspect had not yet been charged and she was unable to provide a name.

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The vehicle was a 2012 Chevrolet Camaro stolen from Newport News, Klink said. The driver made a left onto Shoulders Hill Road before ultimately crashing the vehicle at the Meadowbrook Memorial Gardens Cemetery.

The driver fled on foot into a wooded area at the rear of the cemetery, which backs up to Florence Bowser Elementary School. Suffolk Public Schools made the decision to lock down Florence Bowser as well as Driver Elementary, Klink said.

A Chesapeake Police Department canine unit found the person at 3:35 p.m. on Bob White Parkway, Klink said.

The two Suffolk schools were locked down at 2:45 p.m., according to Suffolk Public Schools spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw, quoting from an emergency notification sent to parents via text message and the School Messenger phone system.

“We were notified that the police were pursuing a suspect on foot, so we took all necessary precautions and locked our buildings down,” the notice stated. “Please know that the safety of the students was our main priority, and we took every necessary precaution.”

The students were in the classrooms with the teachers and were only allowed to leave with adult supervision, according to the notice. The Suffolk Police Department assisted with dismissal of the students at Florence Bowser when it was time for school to close, the notice stated. At Driver, students were “dismissed under close supervision of staff.”