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Assault after high-speed chase nets man 3 years

April 02, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

A man who led police on a high-speed chase in early November and then tried to run down a deputy before escaping on foot was sentenced Thursday to serve three years in prison.

Billy Joe Thurmand, 48, who has addresses in Clear Spring and Beckley, W.Va., pleaded guilty to second-degree assault in Washington County Circuit Court.

He also entered guilty pleas to driving while suspended, fleeing and eluding and his third alcohol-related driving offense. Concurrent sentences were imposed.

"Your poor judgment put lives at risk," said Judge John H. McDowell.

Charges of first-degree assault and resisting arrest were dropped in exchange for the plea.

Police stopped Thurmand on Nov. 6 at 2 a.m. for speeding near the Huyetts Crossroads Sheetz at U.S. 40 and Md. 63.

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Thurmand failed a field sobriety test at that time, according to Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Arthur Rozes.

Before police could make an arrest, Thurmand jumped into his vehicle and took off, Rozes said.

At speeds of more than 120 mph, police chased the car west on U.S. 40 and then north on Independence Road, Rozes said.

The car was stopped again there but as the deputy got out of his vehicle, Thurmand backed up, attempting to hit the cruiser, Rozes said.

The deputy was able to get back into his cruiser and chase Thurmand to Rockdale Road but he fled on foot, Rozes said.

Police could not find him with the help of a Maryland State Police helicopter and K-9, police said.

Police later learned Thurmand was wanted on other charges and his driver's licenses were suspended in both West Virginia and Maryland.

Thurmand was picked up on Dec. 19, and jailed until Thursday's hearing.

"His record is terrible," Rozes said, referring to an armed robbery conviction in the 1980s plus traffic offenses.

Thurmand admitted that and agreed that his judgment was poor the morning he was pulled over by police.

"I've lived a life on the edge for a lot of years," Thurmand said.

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