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Martinsburg man charged in chase involving stolen tractor

July 12, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

INWOOD, W.Va. - A Martinsburg, W.Va., man was charged Friday after he allegedly stole a tractor and drove drunkenly through an orchard, destroying three fruit trees.

Barry Lee Lung Jr., 25, of East Moler Avenue, was charged with grand larceny, fleeing from police while driving under the influence and destruction of property.

According to court records, Berkeley County Deputy T.A. Young was finishing up a complaint Friday evening when someone told him a tractor had just been stolen from Loring Hill Orchards.

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As Young and others drove along Arden-Nollville Road, the driver of the tractor cut in front of Young's cruiser, forcing the deputy to stop abruptly.

The driver, ignoring Young's police lights, crossed the road and drove into an orchard on the tractor, which was pulling a sprayer, according to court records.

As Young chased behind the tractor on foot, the driver ran over two large fruit trees, each valued at around $800, records show.

Although he said he had no intention of using it, Young pulled out his taser and pointed it toward the driver. The taser, a device that emits electronic shocks, works within 21 feet, while Young estimated he was 30 yards behind the man.

Young also did not plan to use the weapon because the driver could have been injured if he fell from the tractor, records show.

When the driver spotted the weapon's laser sight on him, he jumped off the tractor and fled, police allege. The tractor continued and hit a third tree, records show.

As Young pursued him from the orchard into a field, the man stumbled and fell, allowing police to apprehend him, records show.

The man's breath smelled of alcohol and he could barely stand on his own, police allege. He refused to submit to a breath test.

Lung was released from Eastern Regional Jail on $12,500 bail.

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