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Police say detainee used car's radio to call 911

May 10, 2003

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A man put in the back seat of a police car because officers believed he was driving under the influence somehow got access to the officer's radio and called 911 operators, saying he needed help and was being beaten, according to court records.

The incident happened around 2 a.m. Friday.

David E. Churchill, 31, of Inwood, W.Va., was charged with driving under the influence, obstructing police, fleeing on foot, reporting a false emergency, speeding and driving left of center, all misdemeanors.

West Virginia State Police Trooper T.L. Lind pulled Churchill over after he clocked a vehicle speeding on U.S. 11 south of Martinsburg and saw it twice cross the yellow line, police said.

In the parking lot of a nearby bar, the driver got out of his truck and ran off. He was caught nearby and placed into the back of a police cruiser, police said.

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While Lind was out of his car, sheriff's deputies arrived and said someone from Lind's cruiser had radioed for help. Lind said he did not see Churchill use his radio, according to court records.

Churchill failed three field sobriety tests, but refused two offers to take a breath test, court records show.

Churchill is free after posting bond on $17,700 bail.

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