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W.Va. man charged in crash that hurt trooper

June 04, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

An 18-year-old Martinsburg man was charged Monday in last week's two-vehicle collision on Golf Course Road that left a West Virginia State Police officer seriously injured, police said.

Aaron Curtis Lewis was charged with fleeing from an officer causing injury, a felony charge.

Lewis was being held in the Eastern Regional Jail on $50,000 bond Monday night, West Virginia State Police 1st Sgt. Deke Walker said.

Lewis turned himself in at Berkeley County Magistrate Court, Walker said.

Police allege that Lewis was operating a 1995 Nissan Pathfinder that went left of center on Golf Course Road at about 10:50 p.m. on May 29 and struck a police cruiser being driven by Sgt. Scott E. Paugh.

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Before the crash, Lewis believed Martinsburg Police Officer J.R. Butcher, whose emergency lights were activated, was pursuing him and he was trying to elude him, Walker alleged.

In fact, Butcher was responding to a call to help another officer, Walker said.

It was not known how fast Lewis was traveling when his SUV collided with Paugh's cruiser, Walker said.

Lewis and the passenger in his car fled the scene after the wreck, leaving Paugh trapped in his cruiser, according to the criminal complaint and police.

No charges have been filed against the passenger, Walker said.

No one saw the crash and it was about 10 minutes before it was reported, said Walker. Paugh was flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital in Virginia with injuries to his head, left arm and hip, police said.

Paugh has been responding well to his treatment at Inova Fairfax Hospital and doctors believe he might be released from the hospital this week, his wife, Susan, said Monday.

Paugh was expected to be released to an intermediate facility or be allowed to return home, Susan Paugh said.

"He has done very well with everything," Susan Paugh said.

She said most of her husband's physical therapy will focus on his hip injury and the injury to his left arm.

Conviction on a charge of fleeing from an officer causing injury carries a possible sentence of one to five years in prison, police and court officials said.

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