From staff reports

A state trooper was injured following a chase on I-40 involving a stolen van driven by a juvenile on Friday afternoon.

At approximately 12 p.m. Friday, emergency units responded to I-40 eastbound at the 85 mile marker after reports came in about a collision between a Highway Patrol cruiser and an allegedly stolen mini-van during a pursuit.

According to Asheville Police Department officials, the van involved in the wreck, operated by a juvenile driver, was reported stolen by the suspect’s mother from a K-Mart parking lot in Asheville and traveled east on I-40.

As the van neared Marion, the N.C. Highway Patrol was dispatched to the interstate. During the chase, a state trooper in the pursuit conducted a rolling stop near the 85 mile marker and was struck by the van, which also struck an SUV in the process, according to Sgt. J.A. Williams of the Highway Patrol.

Eastbound traffic on I-40 near the U.S. 221 exit was shut down for over almost three hours, allowing one lane of travel at 12:33 p.m. Traffic in both lanes was reopened at 3:21 p.m.

The state trooper was taken to Mission Hospital with non-life threatening injuries and has since been released. His name had not been released to The McDowell News as of Saturday.

According to emergency radio, a dog inside the van escaped following the crash and fled into a nearby wooded area.

The driver of the SUV was unharmed and left the scene shortly afterwards.

The juvenile driver was not injured and has since been taken into custody.

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