MONROE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – A suspect remains on the run in the Charlotte area, and a high school student was arrested after a car chase led to a drug bust in Union County Thursday morning, according to the sheriff’s office.

Jonah Payne, 18, is wanted for 18 separate offenses, which include but are not limited to:

  • Felony flee to elude
  • Felony possession of a schedule I controlled substance

Jordan Carnes, 18, a Piedmont High School student, was given a $2,000 secured bond and charged with the following:

  • Possession of marijuana up to half an ounce
  • Possession of marijuana paraphernalia

The incident began at Monroe’s Piedmont High School parking lot when an SRO saw Carnes trying to leave school without permission. The officer spoke with him, told him to return to class, and gathered info on the vehicle that attempted to give him a ride from school.

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Soon after, the SRO was told the car returned to campus, picking up Carnes, who snuck out a rear exit of the building.

The officer alerted deputies and they and found the vehicle at a nearby church, attempting to speak to both Carnes and the driver, who was identified as Payne. As they approached them, Payne ‘put the car in gear and fled at high speeds, striking a UCSO vehicle as he left the church parking lot.’

A pursuit began, and authorities say Canes got out of the car during it and was arrested; they found THC vape pens and weed on him.

Meanwhile, other deputies joined the chase, which continued into the Charlotte area ending on the 5400 block of Waylong Drive, where Payne stopped his vehicle and ran into the woods.

Officials say they conducted an ‘extensive ground search’ of the area but could not find Payne.

Deputies searched his car and found his driver’s license, about 2.5 pounds of marijuana, assorted packages of THC edibles, multiple boxes of THC vape pens, psilocybin mushrooms, and 2 pints of prescription-grade cough syrup.

“These narcotics distributors attempted to introduce illicit, dangerous substances into our schools,” said sheriff Eddie Cathey. “[They] were stopped by an attentive deputy who deeply cares for her students.”

(Courtesy: Union County Sheriff’s Office)

During the incident, local schools went on lockdown as a precaution and officials advised Payne did not enter the school at any time and all students are safe.

“I cannot overstate the importance of having a trained, professional deputy within our schools that is dedicated to the protection of our children, youth, and staff members from dangerous
criminals,” Cathey added.

Additional deputies will be at Piedmont High School on Friday morning, March 31, to help ease any concerns parents may have.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call 911 or the UCSO main office at (704)283-3789.