Wild chase ends in two wrecks

September 12, 1997


Staff Writer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A wild chase of two suspected car thieves in separate vehicles ended late Thursday ended when both drivers wrecked, according to the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department Friday.

One of the suspect's struck a pickup truck head-on at U.S. 9 in Hedgesville, W.Va., slightly injuring the truck's driver, deputies said.

The incident started about 10 p.m. when Berkeley County Sheriff's Deputy Bob Buracker was on a stakeout at the Wright Motors Auto Sales on North Queen Street.


On Sept. 8, 47 sets of keys to used vehicles had been stolen during a burglary, deputies said.

Several cars had been stolen from the car lot since then, deputies said.

Buracker spotted two vehicles leaving the lot about 10 p.m. Thursday and followed, deputies said.

He radioed to other deputies and requested backup, deputies said.

As he followed behind, he watched as the drivers in a minivan and the Jeep Cherokee "leap frogged" each other in a no-passing zone, deputies said.

State Police troopers also were called into and set up a road block with spiked sticks on U.S. 11, deputies said.

Before the vehicles got there, however, the drivers turned onto Nipetown Road and deputies and troopers took back roads to try to set up ahead of them again, deputies said.

Buracker continued to follow the two suspects and as they passed Riner's Shop Road, Sgt. K.C. Bohrer pulled his cruiser out and activated his emergency lights to signal them to stop, deputies said.

Instead, they drove past him and turned onto W.Va. 9. The Jeep Cherokee turned west at Ridge Road and the Chrysler minivan continued on W.Va. 9, deputies said.

Buracker followed the Cherokee and Bohrer followed after the minivan, deputies said.

Bohrer saw the minivan sliding to the left a couple of times and after going around a curve in Hedgesville he spotted the minivan wrecked into a tree, deputies said.

The suspect had struck a truck driven by James E. McQuaid, 46, of Hedgesville and continued into the tree, deputies said.

The driver, later identified as a 17-year-old Martinsburg boy, jumped out of the wreckage and fled on foot, deputies said.

Bohrer gave chase through several yards and a Hedgesville resident also joined in, deputies said.

However, they lost the boy after he ran into a wooded area, deputies said.

Meanwhile, Buracker was following the Jeep Cherokee until the driver lost control on Ridge Road and rolled down an embankment, deputies said.

The driver, later identified as Douglas Boarman, 19, of Martinsburg, also fled on foot and was lost despite a search by troopers and deputies.

As deputies searched the vehicles, they recovered numerous stolen car keys.

About 1:30 a.m., they called off the search for the two suspects. At 2:17 a.m., deputies received a tip that the 17-year-old boy was hiding behind a dumpster at the 7-Eleven convenience store in Hedgesville, deputies said.

He was arrested and charged with two counts of grand larceny, breaking and entering, and numerous traffic violations.

He was being held at the Eastern Regional Juvenile Detention Center.

About 3:35 a.m., Boarman was found and charged with two counts of grand larceny, breaking and entering, burglary, and numerous traffic violations. He was being held on $60,000 bond at the Eastern Regional Jail.

McQuaid was treated at City Hospital and released.

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