A routine traffic stop went awry in Harrisonburg on Monday night, city officials say.

At about 9:30 p.m. Monday, a Harrisonburg police officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a Kia Soul without its lights on near the East Market Street and Linda Lane intersection, said city spokesperson Michael Parks.

When the officer turned the patrol car's lights on, the vehicle fled from the scene and went through the Kroger parking lot off East Market Street, Parks said.

The Kia Soul turned into the parking lot, known as the Spotswood Square Shopping Center, at a "high rate of speed," Parks said.

"At this point, the officer disengaged per safety protocol, but continued to follow the vehicle, catching up with the vehicle after it had crashed in the area of the Sentara offices in the lot, striking a handrail in front of the business," Parks said. 

Parks said there was no damage to the building. 

Five occupants exited the vehicle and ran away from the scene, Parks said. He said the city is not providing any additional information about the vehicle's passengers at this time. 

HPD has, however, identified the driver and issued warrants for felony eluding and driving without a license. The driver was not in custody as of Tuesday afternoon. 

Parks declined to identify the driver to media. 

"These were not individuals we were working to apprehend for some other incident," he said. "It just started with a traffic stop."

Contact Kellen Stepler at 574-6279 or kstepler@dnronline.com | Follow Kellen on Twitter at @KellenStepler

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