UPDATE Dec. 10, 2019: Ronald Stow pleaded guilty to two counts of felony eluding police, two counts of reckless driving, two counts of reckless driving- speed, and hit and run with damage value less than $1,000.
He was sentenced to six years and 30 months with five years and 30 months suspended, leaving one year to serve.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The man who police say led them on a high-speed chase from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (CBBT) to the Interstate 464 interchange on Tuesday says he was too scared to stop.
“I started panicking and freaking out,” Ronald Stow, Jr. tells 10 On Your Side from behind bars at the Virginia Beach City Jail. “I got scared. I mean, I think anybody would get scared if you don’t know why the cops are chasing you.”
The 25-year-old says he was driving from his home in Delaware to North Carolina with his friend and her 3-year-old son.
He says an officer at the CBBT told his passenger to put on her seat belt when they drove through the toll plaza and he thought that was the end of it.
Chief of CBBT Police Edward Spencer says Stow came through the plaza around 12:30 p.m. He says the officer saw Stow with unrestrained child a radar detector, which is illegal in Virginia.
“I kept driving and the next thing you know his lights are coming on,” Stow added.
Stow says he didn’t stop. He drove into Virginia Beach, hit a car at the intersection of Northampton and Pleasure House Road and ended up on Interstate 64.
Police say speeds got up over 100 miles per hour during the chase. Officers say he wouldn’t let his friend and her son out of the car.
“I’m on a highway,” Stow said. “I just can’t pull over on a highway, so I was trying to get to a safe spot so she and her son could get out. It just never worked out.”
Stow tells 10 On Your side he thought he had a warrant for his arrest in Delaware. He also says he has autism and suffers from mental illness.
“It was just miscommunication, really, that’s what started the issue,” Stow said.
He was taken into custody after Virginia State Police stopped him on I-64 East at the I-464 exit ramp. No one was injured, according to troopers.
Stow knows he is facing serious charges, and if convicted, could end up with some serious time. That is his biggest fear.
“Please, please, please go easy on me,” Stow said. “I just want you know I’m okay, maybe like six months in here. I don’t want to spend years and years in here. I can’t. It would drive me crazy.”
Police charged Stow with abduction, two counts of felony child endangerment, felony hit and run, two counts of felony eluding police, four counts of misdemeanor reckless driving, child restraint and fraudulent registration.
Stow was arraigned on the charges Wednesday afternoon and appointed a public defender. He will have a preliminary hearing Sept. 19.