A Wilson Times Co. publication · Serving Southern Nash County Since 1947

I-95 shooting suspect faces federal charge, maximum 10-year sentence

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A South Carolina man accused of shooting motorists during a high-speed chase on Interstate 95 last week has been charged with a federal firearms charge for using a sawed-off shotgun.

Franklin Joseph Dangerfield, 33, of Ladson, South Carolina, faces 10 years in prison if convicted on the charge filed by special agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Dangerfield is accused of shooting vehicles along I-95 and leading law enforcement in a chase from Nash County into Virginia.

At 6:45 p.m. Sept. 5, deputies with the Nash County Sheriff’s Office responded to calls of a man shooting at vehicles from a black pickup truck. Deputies located the truck traveling at high speeds north on the interstate and pursued the driver through four counties before crossing the North Carolina-Virginia state line. Deputies with the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office and the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the pursuit.

The driver exceeded 100 mph before crashing at mile marker 11 in Emporia, Virginia, around 7:30 p.m., according to the criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court.

“Virginia State Police observed Dangerfield, the sole occupant of the vehicle, in the driver’s seat and a loaded Savage Arms Springfield 67H 12-gauge shotgun in plain view on the front passenger seat. The shotgun had a sawed-off barrel and was not registered with the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, in violation of federal law. Officers also recovered shotgun shells and a hacksaw from the truck,” wrote Don Connelly, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina. 

Nash County victims in the I-95 pursuit include an elderly woman shot in the shoulder and another woman punctured in the face by shattered glass. The gunshot victim was airlifted to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville. 

A Nash County Sheriff’s Office deputy’s marked vehicle sustained damage in the chase and the deputy received treatment for non-life-threatening injuries. 

Dangerfield is also charged by North Carolina authorities with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, eight counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and multiple traffic infractions.

South Carolina authorities charged Dangerfield with attempting to steal three cars and kidnapping two teen sisters in 2017.

Dangerfield was also arrested on narcotics charges in 2012.