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Two-state chase ends with crash

April 29, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

BEDINGTON, W.Va. - A police chase that started in Washington County ended in Berkeley County when the Plymouth Breeze officers were pursuing struck a van along Bedington Road Wednesday, police said.

The driver fled the scene on foot, going over two fences and a creek before being caught by two Washington County Sheriff's Department deputies, police said.

Lonnie Andrew Gregory, 34, of 202 Veterans Way, Martinsburg, was charged with obstructing, petit larceny, driving revoked for driving under the influence, failure to stop for emergency vehicle and receiving or transferring a stolen vehicle, police said.

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The car Gregory was driving had been reported stolen from Martinsburg, Berkeley County Sheriff's Department officials said.

A passenger in the car, Eric Mathew Hartwick, 29, no fixed address, was charged with theft from a motor vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle and conspiracy to possess a stolen vehicle, according to a press release from the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

The string of events started at about 1:30 p.m. when Washington County Deputy K. Morgan responded to a complaint about a man who reached into a car parked at the McDonald's restaurant on Massey Boulevard and removed a black bag, police said. The man then got into his car and left the area, police said.

Morgan later spotted the car traveling west on Halfway Boulevard and attempted to stop it, police said.

The driver increased his speed, police said.

The car went south on Interstate 81, where Maryland State Police Trooper Phil Martin deployed "stop sticks" that deflated the left front tire on the car, police said.

The car continued traveling on the interstate and entered West Virginia, where it got off I-81 and went south on U.S. 11 toward Bedington, police said.

Berkeley County deputies blocked the intersection of U.S. 11 and Bedington Road, police said.

The driver of the car avoided the roadblock by going through a field and through a gravel parking lot owned by Emery Trucking Inc., said Cpl. Steve Vigh of the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department.

The car then proceeded on Bedington Road, police said. At the intersection of Bedington Road and Mouth of the Opequon Road, the driver lost control of the car and struck a van driven by William R. Welch, 76, of Williamsport, police said.

No one was hospitalized as a result of the crash, police said.

Welch said he and his granddaughter, Hannah Welch, 5, a passenger in the van, had been to a relative's house to see some rabbits before the crash. Welch said he tried to steer his van to miss the car but it struck a front fender.

Gregory was being held in the Eastern Regional Jail Wednesday night, but jail officials said Hartwick was not being held there. No information on Gregory's bond was available.

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