FOREST, Va. – Last week on one of Bedford County’s most congested roads, Deputy Sonny Daniels tried to pull over a speeding motorcycle driver.
What should have been a routine traffic stop didn’t go as planned.
“As I initiated lights and sirens on the motorcycle, he increased speeds dramatically,” said Daniels, who has worked for the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office since 2011.
Daniels said the driver, later identified as Ryan Ellis, was heading through Forest on Route 221 at speeds that are considered reckless under Virginia law.
It was around 5 in the afternoon and the road was packed with drivers heading home.
“He put himself and the public in a lot of danger at that time of day,” Daniels told WDBJ7 Friday.
Daniels followed Ellis to Perrowville Road, where Ellis ditched his motorcycle and took off running.
Randy Willis saw what was happening and offered to help.
“When you see a situation and you realize there’s an emergency, you just respond,” said Willis.
When he saw Daniels chasing Ellis on foot, Willis offered to give the deputy a ride.
“I turned my truck around and he hopped in the back of it,” Willis explained. “Then we went looking for the suspect.”
Another man at a nearby gas station showed them where to go and called 911.
By that time Ellis had ducked into Trio Pizza. He hoped the employees there would help him hide, but they showed Daniels exactly where to find him.
The deputy took him outside to his patrol car and was greeted with support.
“Two ladies were at the bank across the street,” said Daniels. “They clapped, gave me a thumbs up and cheered.”
Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown held a ceremony in front of Trio Pizza Friday to thank Willis and the others who helped Daniels in his time of need.
Daniels said its reassuring to know the community has his back.
“When someone offers their help and support like that, it’s rare but it lets you know that you can still hold your head high and do your job,” Daniels said.
Ellis is facing charges of speeding, reckless driving, and a felony count of eluding police.