“The subject had eluded them up to that point, and saw an opportunity to get in the car, and ended up driving away in our police car,” said Buena Vista Police Chief Keith Hartman.
A cruiser like this one, now in the hands of a man wearing nothing but his underwear.
“A short time later, we had information that the individual was up interstate 81 at one of the gas stations up there in Northern Rockbridge County,” Hartman said.
So, stopping at the pumps, maybe he thought he would get more gas, or steal the car that was parked at the neighboring pumps. But the couple that owned that vehicle fought him off, so he jumped back in the cruiser and headed back out to Interstate 81.
“He had tried to put gasoline in our vehicle,” Hartman said. “Evidently, our vehicle was not fully topped off with gasoline, so that ended up being a good thing for us.”
On up 81 he drove, until the meter finally hit zero. They caught him walking back down the highway.
Robert Nicely now faces a series of charges, including felony auto theft and felony eluding, as well as the original domestic assault and battery charges.
“We have to own this one,” Chief Hartman admitted. “We know that something bad happened, and these are things that cops do all the time. You can go to many scenes and see a vehicle running. It just didn’t turn out in our favor in this one. So, we were fortunate and unfortunate at the same time.”