Two suspects still at large following three Upper Valley vehicle chases

John Cyncar (Lebanon Police photograph)

John Cyncar (Lebanon Police photograph)

Dustin Sheltra (Hanover Police photograph)

Dustin Sheltra (Hanover Police photograph)

By JOHN LIPPMAN

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 07-06-2023 7:55 PM

LEBANON — Upper Valley police departments have reported involvement in three vehicle chases in recent weeks, but only one of the incidents ended with the successful apprehension of a suspect.

The other two drivers got away and are still at large with warrants out for their arrests.

The most recent incident occurred on at around noon on the July 4 holiday when Lebanon police attempted a motor vehicle stop on Mechanic Street and the driver sped off after he was unable to provide a driver’s license or other documentation, according to a news release by Lebanon police on Wednesday.

As the vehicle drove off, it struck one of the officers in the elbow and lower body, while another had to leap out of the way to avoid being hit. The officers pursued the vehicle over several Lebanon city streets until it got “hung up on a tree stump” near the Baker and Hayes law office on School Street, according to court records.

Lebanon police arrested and identified the driver as John Cyncar, 51, of Wells River, who has been charged with reckless conduct with a deadly weapon, resisting arrest and simple assault, police said.

Cyncar, who is being held in preventive detention at Grafton County House of Corrections in North Haverhill, also had an a nationwide extradition warrant on “dangerous drugs” charges out in Colorado, where authorities said they will seek his extradition from New Hampshire, according to court records.

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Meanwhile, Hanover police asked for help finding the suspect in a June 16 incident that began when Hartford police notified Hanover of a “high-speed pursuit” of a motor vehicle that was “continuing into New Hampshire.”

The vehicle and its driver were subsequently spotted on Main Street in Hanover, but once again, as police attempted to stop the vehicle the vehicle, the driver instead sped off and “nearly collided with other vehicles and pedestrians,” Hanover police said.

The vehicle “continued to flee” into Lebanon, when officers lost track of it.

Hanover police said they subsequently identified the suspected driver as Dustin Sheltra, of West Charleston, Vt., who had been involved in “another high-speed pursuit” on June 15 with Vermont State Police and who has eight criminal cases pending against him in Orleans County, according to Vermont state court records.

Sheltra, who as of Thursday afternoon was still at large, is being charged with reckless conduct, reckless driving, disobeying an officer and operating a vehicle without a license, Hanover police said.

And in May Randolph and Royalton police engaged in a high-speed chase of a fleeing motorist who also refused to comply during a routine motor vehicle stop.

Royalton police said that they were conducting a “buckle up” seatbelt enforcement campaign on May 28 when an officer noticed a vehicle without a current inspection sticker and began tailing the vehicle.

Joined by a cruiser from Randolph, police attempted to stop the vehicle but the driver continued proceeding from Randolph Village to Randolph Town and, at one point, was recorded hitting a speed of 86 miles per hour in a 35 mph speed zone on East Bethel Road, according to Royalton police.

A video recorded by a witness on East Bethel Road shows the vehicle being pursued by two police cruisers, sirens blaring, as the fleeing vehicle drove into a farm field — where a passenger got out — before the car went around the back of a barn and back onto East Bethel Road with a police cruiser in hot pursuit.

Shortly later, Royalton police said it discontinued the active pursuit, citing the safety risks involved with the public.

Police subsequently identified the suspected driver as Shawn Culver, 25, formerly of Royalton, and obtained a warrant for his arrest. He was charged with excessive speed, careless and negligent operation, and attempting to elude police officers, according to the news release.

Culver remained at large as of Thursday afternoon.

Contact John Lippman at jlippman@vnews.com.