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North Carolina speaker, lawmaker uninjured after SUV rammed

House Speaker Collision
Gary D. Robertson
North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, speaks to reporters on Friday, Feb. 24, 2023 at the Legislative Building in Raleigh, N.C. Moore described what happened when he said a truck rammed from behind the sport utility vehicle in which he and three others were riding in on Thursday on U.S. Highway 64 near Raleigh. A Goldsboro man was charged Friday with driving while impaired and other counts.

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore and another lawmaker were unhurt after authorities said a pickup truck struck the sport utility vehicle they were traveling in on a Raleigh-area highway.

The pickup's driver was charged Friday with impaired driving and other counts after Moore said his driver — a General Assembly police officer — turned on the emergency lights in the unmarked SUV on Thursday evening and followed the truck for several miles before it stopped. Several troopers and sheriff's cruisers also converged on the road.

The suspect, identified by the state Highway Patrol as James Matthew Brogden, 38, of Goldsboro, was taken to WakeMed hospital for evaluation before going to the Wake County Detention Center and getting charged, a patrol statement said.

Moore said he, Rep. David Willis of Union County and Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Gurley were returning to Raleigh after a series of events in Wilson. The speaker's security officer was driving the SUV west on U.S. Highway 64 near Knightdale around 9:30 p.m. when it was rammed from behind at least three times, Moore told reporters at the Legislative Building.

Moore praised his driver, Officer Jason Perdue, for controlling the SUV after it was struck and taking action on the road, which has a 70 mph (113 kph) speed limit. Moore said the truck stopped in the left lane of the highway about 6 miles (10 kilometers) later. No one in the SUV was hurt, Moore spokesperson Demi Dowdy said.

“Thank God we’re all just all right,” Moore said, adding he saw nothing to indicate that he or his vehicle was targeted due to politics or his role in government. The General Assembly-owned Chevrolet Tahoe's license plate resembles a private owner's plate, with none of the specialized numbering that lawmakers' personal vehicle plates receive. The SUV didn't appear severely damaged.

“Many of us have been rear-ended by a car unfortunately in the past,” Moore said. "But when you're moving at highway speeds and another car approaches you at higher rate of speed and it hits the car ... you can imagine the kinds of things that are going through your mind at that point and its intention."

The Highway Patrol said Brogden was charged with several counts including driving while impaired, speeding to elude arrest, hit and run, failure to reduce speed, resisting an officer and property damage. Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said the case was being reviewed and additional charges are possible if appropriate.

Brogden was released Friday on unsecured bond, with a March 17 hearing set. A message was left for Brogden at a phone number listed on one of his pretrial release documents.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said in a tweet that he told Moore he was “glad that no one was hurt in this alarming incident and that law enforcement caught the suspect.”

Moore, a Cleveland County Republican now in his 11th term, has been speaker since 2015. Willis, also a Republican, is in his second term.

Moore said they had visited Wilson Community College on Thursday and a downtown revitalization effort and met with a veterans' advocacy group. Moore said he also attended a campaign reception for a lawmaker.

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