Wythe Co. officials are currently searching for a man who slashed a sheriff’s deputy who confronted him at a riverside bonfire, and then dove into the river to escape arrest.
According to Deputy Keith Dunagan of the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office, the man is Cheston A. Stoneman, 32, of Hillsville. He is currently wanted a multitude of charges including felony malicious wounding of a law enforcement officer, felony obstruction of justice, resisting arrest, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Stoneman is still at large, and is also believed to be armed with a .38-caliber revolver.
The incident began Sunday around 1:40 a.m., when deputies from the Wythe County Sheriff’s office were dispatched to a complaint from a landowner who said trespassers had built on fire on his property on Rose Hollow Rd. in the Max Meadows/Major Grahams area of Wythe Co.
Two officers approached the fire and found four people by it. One man, who was later identified as Stoneman by the other suspects, fled and was chased by a deputy, who caught up with Stoneman and grabbed him.
The man cut the deputy’s hand with a knife before diving into the New River, according to Dunagan’s report.
The deputy, Zack Puckett, was treated at Wythe County Community Hospital and released, Dunagan said.
Two others – Taylor Stoneman, 18, of Hillsville, and Joy Lawrence, 31, of Galax, were each charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and giving a false report to a law enforcement officer.
Dunagan wrote that a 16-year-old girl from Galax was also caught at the scene, but has not been charged.