Virginia State Police Trooper R.D. Horton probably didn’t earn himself any extra Valentine’s Day cards last week, making separate arrests in Hillsville for DUI and larceny of a vehicle on Feb. 14 and 15.
The holiday started Thursday night, on Valentine’s Day, for Horton as he responded to a call of a single vehicle accident at approximately 8:23 p.m. on Homestead Road, off of Mitchell’s Crossroads. There, Horton and members of the Hillsville Fire Department and Carroll County EMS found a 1990s model Ford Ranger pickup, driven by Daniel P. Manning of Hillsville, on fire following an accident.
“He came around the curve and lost control, ran off the left side of the road, overturning the vehicle,” Horton said. “He was very lucky he didn’t get knocked unconscious. He told me it immediately caught fire as soon as it stopped rolling. He heard a boom and he crawled out.”
Horton charged Manning with DUI and reckless driving.
Trooper Horton was busy again the next night, Feb. 15., as the Virginia State Police dispatch received a call from Greensboro, N.C. from a person stating he had traced his stolen vehicle to Hillsville thanks to a neighbor’s stolen iPad that was in the vehicle.
“He was telling us his vehicle was reported stolen and he was tracing from an iPad that had been stolen that was possibly inside the stolen vehicle,” Horton said. “He contacted us to tell us it was showing the vehicle parked on Farmers Market Road off Exit 14 off Interstate 77.”
Horton and other troopers from the state police responded to Exit 14, where they located the vehicle, a Chevrolet Tahoe, at the Super 8 motel on Farmers Market Road. Upon further investigation, troopers found the suspect, Brandon S. Browne, 18, of Greensboro, had checked into the Super 8 earlier that day. Ironically, the stolen iPad was again used to trace Browne. Horton said after looking through the motel’s registration, he noticed one of the guests didn’t leave information for a vehicle. The clerk called Browne, who got spooked and left the motel, Horton said.
“So again we kind of traced him. He had the iPad with him and we traced him still in the area around Exit 14. He ended up calling the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office by cellphone and gave himself up at about 7:30 p.m.,” Horton said.
Horton charged Browne with larceny of a vehicle, a felony. He said the Greensboro Police Department has also charged Browne with additional felony charges in North Carolina for two counts of breaking and entering a vehicle, and larceny of a vehicle. Horton said Browne is being held without bond at New River Valley Regional Jail awaiting extradition. The Hillsville Police Department and Carroll County Sheriff’s Office assisted the State Police with the arrest and investigation.