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A federal court judge has ordered a competency examination for a man charged in an Interstate 95 shooting and chase which ended in Emporia.

Chief United States District Judge Richard E. Myers II ordered that Franklin Joseph Dangerfield submit to a psychiatric or psychological examination by a “properly qualified professional” and that “said professional file a report with the court and the parties regarding the examination once (it) has been completed.” 

When the report is filed the court will schedule a hearing to determine Dangerfield’s competency.

Because of the competency examination, Dangerfield’s trial and any pending deadlines are continued until further order of the court.

Meanwhile, Myers also ordered that Dangerfield be taken into the custody of the attorney general and evaluated at an appropriate Federal Bureau of Prisons facility. “The attorney general’s custody of the defendant shall not exceed forty-five days,” Myers ordered.

The orders came after the attorney for Dangerfield earlier this month filed a motion seeking a mental evaluation for his client.

In discovery documents provided by the government, counsel noted that Dangerfield, of South Carolina, sustained a head injury in the past after a tree fell through the roof of his residence and struck his head.  

Dangerfield’s counsel has had four in-person meetings with his client and during the first three counsel did not observe behavior that caused concern about the man’s competency to stand trial.

On March 9, however, during a meeting at the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Virginia, the motion says Dangerfield was observed making delusional statements.

Scott Sautter, a neuropsychologist, met with Dangerfield on March 11 and the doctor was unable to conduct a full battery of testing with the defendant due to him becoming agitated, court documents show.

During a March 31 phone call, Sautter reported that Dangerfield made multiple delusional statements. Based on his 90 minutes with the defendant and his review of records related to the defendant’s medical history, Sautter informed counsel that he has concerns about the defendant’s competency to assist in his defense and agreed that a full competency evaluation should be conducted.

Dangerfield was charged in September by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for possession of the sawed-off shotgun.

According to the ATF complaint, deputies with the Nash County Sheriff’s Office responded to southern Nash County after receiving calls of a male shooting at vehicles along I-95 from a black pickup. 

Deputies located the truck traveling at high speeds north on I-95, and pursued the driver through four counties, before crossing the North Carolina-Virginia state line. 

Deputies with the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office and the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the pursuit. 

The driver of the pickup truck exceeded speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour before crashing at mile marker 11 in Emporia. 

Virginia State Police observed Dangerfield, the sole occupant of the vehicle, in the driver’s seat and a loaded Savage Arms Springfield 67H 12-gauge shotgun in plain view on the front passenger seat. 

The shotgun had a sawed-off barrel and was not registered with the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, in violation of federal law. Officers also recovered shotgun shells and a hacksaw from the truck. 

The injuries in Nash County along I-95 included one person shot in the shoulder and another punctured in the face by shattered glass. 

A Nash County Sheriff’s Office deputy’s marked vehicle sustained damage in the chase and the deputy received treatment for non-life threatening injuries.