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Investigation continues in arrest of Shepherdstown woman

September 05, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Shepherdstown Police Chief Charles Cole conducted interviews Wednesday as part of his investigation into whether one of his officers used excessive force in a traffic stop last Friday.

Cole said he interviewed several young people who were in the area when Patrolman Charles Lynch stopped a car Friday being driven by Nancy VanTol, a Shepherdstown businesswoman.

Cole said he did not expect to make a decision in the case for several more days.

Although witnesses to the traffic stop on High Street allege excessive force was used in the incident, Cole said Tuesday it appeared Lynch was within his rights when he arrested VanTol.

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Cole said VanTol refused to obey instructions from Lynch three times and eventually ran from Lynch.

Luke Collins, a witness to the traffic stop, said VanTol was walking away. Collins said Lynch forced VanTol to the ground "as if she was running away from him at full-speed."

VanTol, who was pulled over for a defective headlight, was charged with failure to obey a police officer, interfering and defective equipment, Cole said. VanTol was taken to the police station after her arrest and released, said Cole.

VanTol declined to comment about the traffic stop Tuesday. She said she was consulting with an attorney about the matter.

Collins was part of a group of more than 20 people who gathered outside the Shepherdstown Police Department Saturday to ask that Lynch be suspended.

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