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Driver shocked after high-speed pursuit

July 15, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - After pursuing a man who got his truck stuck in the mud early Monday, police broke a window in the man's pickup truck and shot him with an electronic dart gun, according to court records.

Gerald Thomas Day Jr., 32, of Cross Junction, Va., was charged with a felony count of fleeing from police while driving under the influence and misdemeanor counts of driving on a suspended license, resisting arrest and carrying a concealed weapon.

Berkeley County Deputy T.S. Shetley spotted a Nissan truck with an unreadable registration in Inwood, W.Va., near the 7-Eleven, according to a three-page criminal complaint.

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Shetley watched the driver run off the pavement after turning onto Gerrardstown Road. At the intersection with the Interstate 81 overpass, the driver did not come to a complete stop, prompting Shetley to turn on his in-car camera, records allege.

Shetley turned on his lights and siren after the driver ran off the road again and crossed the double yellow line. At that time, the driver sped up and ran off the road again, nearly crashing twice, Shetley said.

Speeds reached 70 mph, Shetley said. At the intersection of Gerrardstown Road and Gold Miller Road, the driver tried to turn left but ran off the road into a grassy area near Mill Creek.

Stopped in the mud, the driver tried to go forward and then back up, but couldn't get enough traction, Shetley said.

Shetley got out of his cruiser and ordered the driver - who he alleged was still trying to accelerate - to get out of the truck. After the driver refused several demands to shut off the truck, Shetley broke the passenger-side window of the truck with a flashlight and shot the driver with a taser gun. Taser guns have small darts attached to wires that emit an electric shock.

Shetley said he could not walk around to the driver's side of the truck for safety reasons, since the driver was still trying to flee, records show.

Once the taser had been deployed, Shetley was able to reach in and turn off the truck's ignition. When the driver moved over to the passenger side of the truck, Shetley pulled him out through the window, records show.

When another deputy searched the truck, he found a 12-inch knife behind the driver's seat and a 5-inch knife in the glove compartment, records allege.

On an Intoxilyzer test, Day registered a .117, records allege. The legal limit in West Virginia is .10.

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