Car Chase, Manhunt Interrupts Christmas Parade

Troopers take Christopher Michael Buttitta, 38, into custody following a chase and manhunt in Cleveland on Tuesday night. Photo by John Payne

For the third time within a week, local law enforcement officers have been involved in a high speed chase.

The latest pursuit happened Tuesday night in the Cleveland community.  It began when a driver of a pickup collided with a tow truck dispatched to an accident scene on Highway 42.  The pickup truck driver initially stopped but got back into his lifted Chevy Silverado and began to speed away from the scene.  As he left the scene, a passenger in the truck jumped out the passenger side window and fled on foot.

Troopers began pursuing the truck for several miles. Eventually a trooper was able to deploy stop sticks deflating the truck tires. The truck stopped in a nearby daycare parking lot on Cleveland Road but the driver fled on foot towards the Cleveland Christmas Parade which was already in progress.

Many parade attendees were surprised to see such a heavy law enforcement presence.

Troopers, Johnston County deputies and a Clayton Police K-9 set up a perimeter and searched for the suspect initially without any success.  It turns out the suspect had gone inside a restaurant and ordered a meal.  Eventually, officers spotted the man walking nearby and arrested him.

Christopher Michael Buttitta, 38, was arrested on multiple charges.  No injuries were reported during the pursuit.

Last Friday, two men were arrested for attempted murder after firing on state troopers during a 100mph car chase down I-40 near Benson.  Early Sunday morning, two people were arrested following a 125mph chase on Highway 210 that began near McGee’s Crossroads and ended in Angier.

Photos by John Payne