By Alexander Shedd
Craig County locals were shocked last Friday, August 12 to catch a brief glimpse of Shawn Tolbert, 42, a Burkeville man who has been fleeing from state police and now the Craig Sheriff’s Department. Tolbert’s appearance has disrupted New Castle school bus schedules and put the county on high alert, but the strange series of events surrounding his evasion from police raises questions as to who the man is and why he’s on the run.
Tolbert got the attention of state police the previous day on Thursday, Aug. 11 after leading state troopers on a high-speed chase on Interstate 81 that ended with a crash in Craig County before Tolbert continued the chase on foot. Tolbert was not wanted in connection with any crime he may have committed before that point; the state trooper on the scene claimed he singled Tolbert out for a traffic stop as a possible suspect in a theft near Buchanan due to the appearance of his vehicle, but investigators have since ruled Tolbert out in that particular crime. After the original officer switched on his siren, Tolbert immediately fled for unknown reasons. According to public background checks, Tolbert has previously been charged with numerous crimes such as DUI, failure to appear in court and violating probation–however, Tolbert was not actively wanted by police at the time of the chase.
Now wanted by state troopers for three counts of felony evasion from police and three counts of reckless driving, Tolbert fled into the dense woods of Craig County and is believed to still be hiding out there armed and dangerous. After being spotted in Craig, the Sheriff’s Department has obtained additional charges against Tolbert: criminal trespassing, obstruction, false identification and two counts of felony assault on a police officer.
As of presstime, Tolbert is still at large and believed to be on foot in the Sinking Creek area around Level Green and Northside, though no further information has been released regarding his identity or motives. Police are asking the public to be extremely cautious if spotting Tolbert and to immediately contact law enforcement.