11/10/06 — High-speed 18-wheeler chase spans 2 counties

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High-speed 18-wheeler chase spans 2 counties

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on November 10, 2006 1:45 PM

A high-speed chase that began in Johnston County ended in Goldsboro in front of Wal-Mart Wednesday night.

At about 8 p.m., the Johnston County Sheriff's Department received a call from the owner of M&M Feed Mill on N.C. 70, just east of Smithfield near Pine Level.

Tammy Amaon, a Johnston Sheriff's Department spokeswoman, said the owner reported a man trying to break into one of the trucks for sale in front of his business. When the owner spooked the man -- Philip Millner of Mount Olive, he took off and jumped back into the cab of an 18-wheeler he had allegedly stolen earlier Wednesday in Garner.

There was no trailer attached to the cab.

Fleeing east on N.C. 70, a Johnston County deputy fell in behind the truck and tried to pull him over. Millner refused to stop.

And from there, Ms. Amaon said, "the chase was on."

Johnston County deputies pursued him to the Wayne/Johnston county line, where Wayne County deputies took over. Both departments were assisted in the chase by the N.C. Highway Patrol.

Wayne County deputies then deployed stop sticks near the sinkhole on 70 in an effort to stop him.

It didn't work.

"He kept right on down 70 to Royall Avenue and kept right on down Royall," Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders said. "He turned left onto Spence. He was headed for the on-ramp to get back onto 70."

But Millner never made it back to the highway.

"I think the tires went flat on him," Winders said. "I don't think he hit the light pole. I just think he couldn't make the turn."

He estimated that Millner was traveling down Royall at about 55 miles an hour.

Once the truck came to stop, Winders continued, Millner jumped out of the cab and jumped the fence surrounding the Wal-Mart parking lot, where Goldsboro police officers and Wayne County deputies finally took him into custody.

The suspect is facing a string of traffic charges in Wayne and Johnston counties, as well as in Goldsboro. He is also facing theft and breaking and entering in Johnston County and Garner.

"There's no telling how many charges he could rack up," Ms. Amaon said.

Millner is being held in the Johnston County jail.