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Woman driving stolen cruiser leads police on 2-state chase

April 07, 2006|by ROBERT SNYDER

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A woman driving a stolen West Virginia state police cruiser, with lights on and siren blaring, led police on a late-night, high-speed chase through three West Virginia counties and northern Virginia Thursday, ending after more than an hour when the car was forced from the road after it ran out of gas in Hampshire County, W.Va., police said.

Police gave chase to the cruiser shortly after 9 p.m. when it was stolen by a woman in Berkeley County who had been placed in police custody after she was apprehended in West Virginia for allegedly stealing a separate car earlier that evening in Frederick County, Va., according to a Virginia state police officer who would not release his name.

Berkeley County Sheriff Randy Smith said his deputies assisted state police in the original and subsequent pursuits, but stopped when the stolen cruiser crossed the state line into Virginia.

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"When the police car went out of the county, we ceased any pursuit at that time," Smith said.

Before being stopped by police around 10:15 p.m., the driver led police back and forth into Virginia and Berkeley County several times, later heading west into Morgan and then Hampshire counties, where the driver was apprehended, according to a state police officer.

It is not known how the woman was able to gain control of the cruiser. The investigation was ongoing, according to police in Hampshire County.

Police did not identify the woman Thursday night.

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