LANSING, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Ashe County Sheriff’s deputies caught a 27-year-old absconder they had sought for weeks. 

Sheriff B. Phil Howell said deputies arrested Wesley Pennington of Lansing and 44-year-old Marcie Jo Lipford of Creston after a month-long search that damaged two patrol cars. Creston’s arrest came after Pennington’s arrest.

Authorities said Pennington eluded arrest for several weeks as they attempted to arrest the man on outstanding DOC absconder warrants.

On Monday, authorities saw Pennington driving in the area. He hit one deputy’s patrol car head-on. The collision disabled Pennington’s car, and the deputy arrested the man. The week before (March 9), another deputy spotted Pennington in Lansing. A chase ensued, with Pennington driving recklessly at high speeds. At one point, Pennington backed his vehicle into a deputy several times to cause damage to the law enforcement vehicle.

Pennington fled into the woods on foot, where law enforcement from the Sheriff’s Office, N.C. Probation Officers and U.S. Marshals extended the ground search. N.C. Highway Patrol troopers provided helicopter support.

During the investigation, authorities made several arrests. On Wednesday, they announced Lipford’s arrest Lipford for harboring a fugitive. They also confiscated white pills and two baggies with a white crystal-like substance, later identified as methamphetamine.

Additional charges could be filed based on evidence collected and submitted to N.C. State Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab. 

Deputies transported Pennington and Lipford to the Ashe County Detention Center, where they face the following charges:

Pennington was charged and held without bond. He faces charges of:

  • Four counts- Felony assault with a deadly weapon
  • Felony flee/elude arrest with a motor vehicle
  • Felony Post-Release supervision and parole violation
  • DWLR not impaired revoked
  • No liability insurance
  • Reckless driving to endanger
  • Fictitious/alt title/reg card/tag

Lipford was charged and released with a $10,000 secured bond. She faces charges of: 

  • Felony harboring fugitive
  • Felony possession Schedule II controlled substance
  • Simple possession Schedule II controlled substance 
  • Simple possession Schedule IV controlled substance
  • Possess drug paraphernalia