Pepper spray canister explodes, officer hurt as SUV crashes into unmarked police patrol car in Winston-Salem; suspect arrested

Winston-Salem police file photo (WGHP)

Winston-Salem police file photo (WGHP)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — A Winston-Salem officer was taken to the hospital after a hit-and-run crash that caused a pepper spray canister to explode in the officer’s patrol car, according to Winston-Salem police.

At about 10:47 p.m. Sunday, Corporal James B. Pleasant called for emergency help, saying he was involved in a crash at Peters Creek Parkway and Silas Creek Parkway.

When officers arrived, they spotted a 1998 Lincoln Navigator leaving towards Interstate 40. Witnesses described the vehicle as a green SUV.

Police believe Pleasant was driving an unmarked 2021 Ford Explorer Police Interceptor north on Peter’s Creek Parkway and tried to make a left turn on a protected green arrow.

The SUV was heading south on Peters Creek Parkway and entered the intersection on a steady red light, crashing into the side of the patrol car.

“The impact of the two vehicles was so significant that it caused a canister of Oleoresin-Capsicum, commonly referenced as ‘pepper spray,’ to burst inside of Corporal Pleasant’s vehicle,” police said in a news release. “An odor of ‘pepper spray’ could be detected in the area of this crash, however no citizens were affected by this exposure.”

The SUV then got onto I-40 in an unknown direction.

Forsyth County EMS took Pleasant to a hospital with minor injuries and exposure to pepper spray.

A witness later reported that a person was walking around a green SUV in the parking lot of a Cold Stone Creamery off Hanes Mall Circle. The SUV appeared to have significant damage.

Officers responded to the parking lot and spoke with Javier Gutierrez-Peralta.

Police were able to link the damage to the SUV with the crash.

Gutierrez-Peralta was arrested on a charge of driving while impaired, and other traffic-related charges are expected.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Winston-Salem Police Department at (336) 773-7700, Crime Stoppers at (336) 727-2800 or En Espanol at (336) 728-3904. The Text-A-Tip Program at (336) 276-1717 allows you to anonymously text tips, photos, and videos to the Winston-Salem Police Department. You can also view “Crime Stoppers of Winston-Salem Forsyth County” on Facebook.

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