W.Va. police investigate county commissioner

March 17, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia State Police are investigating to see if they will seek charges against Jefferson County Commissioner R. Gregory Lance for assaulting his 13-year-old son in a packed bowling alley last week.

"We received a complaint against him and we are checking into the matter," said State Police Sgt. S.L. Sponaugle. "It's still under investigation at this time."

Lance declined to comment about the allegations involving his son, Tyler.

"They're not worth responding to at this point," he said.

State Police were called on March 9 to the Shenandoah Lanes off U.S. 340 in Charles Town for a report of a domestic battery on the juvenile son, Sponaugle said.


The formal investigation started on March 10, Sponaugle said.

The trooper assigned to the investigation has been taking statements from those at the bowling alley, Sponaugle said.

Senior Trooper Scott Dillon said he's interviewed about six or seven witnesses so far.

"We're waiting to get all the witness statements - formal, written statements. After that's done we'll make a determination if there's enough probable cause to obtain a warrant," Dillon said. "Witnesses have stated they saw Greg Lance grab his son around the neck and was choking him. There was physical evidence of that."

The trooper said the bowling alley was packed when the altercation occurred.

Bonnie Staley, assistant manager at the bowling alley, said she was working when a bowler came up and asked her to call the police because a boy was being assaulted by a man.

She said the altercation started inside but then moved to the parking lot. She said she did not see the incident because she was busy running the league bowling.

She gave the bowler the phone to call the police.

Minutes later, the boy came inside and also asked to call the police, Staley said.

The boy looked "shaken up" and scared, she said. The boy's father followed him inside, but there were no further incidents, she said.

Staley said it was a highly unusual event for the bowling alley.

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