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Cruiser smashed in W.Va. chase, struggle

July 14, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A West Virginia State Police cruiser was destroyed early Sunday when a Hedgesville, W.Va., man who was being pursued by a trooper allegedly backed into the squad car, state police said in a news release.

The driver then struggled with Trooper Z.L. Nine, who chased the man around the man's house on Cannon Hill Road near Hedgesville and tackled the suspect, the release said.

Other police officers responded to help Nine and troopers had to pull the suspect's arms behind his back to handcuff him, police said.

Earl Douglas Ambrose Jr., 37, of 3414 Cannon Hill Road, faces charges of fleeing in a vehicle DUI, DUI third offense, assault on an officer, fleeing on foot, reckless driving and driving revoked DUI second, the release said.

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Ambrose was being held Sunday night at the Eastern Regional Jail on $106,000 bond, a jail spokesman said.

The incident started about 1:28 a.m. when Nine tried to stop a 1975 Chevrolet truck on Rock Cliff Drive near Polo Green Drive for an expired registration and for traveling left of center, the release said.

The driver refused to stop and Nine pursued the truck north on Rock Cliff Drive, west on W.Va. 9, south on Joshia Street, west on Lyle Street and south on Cannon Hill Road, the release said.

After passing the driver's residence at 3414 Cannon Hill Road, the man stopped his truck and backed into Nine's cruiser, causing extensive front damage estimated at $6,000, the release said.

The driver refused to get out of his truck and did not comply with Nine's commands, the release said.

Nine delivered a one-second burst of pepper spray to the face of the driver, the release said.

The driver still refused to exit the truck and acted aggressively toward Nine, police said.

The driver then tried to step on his gas pedal to flee, police said.

The driver was eventually removed from the truck, although he took an aggressive stance against Nine and swung his fist at him, the release said.

Nine tackled the driver after chasing him up a long driveway at the man's house, police said.

Sunday's episode was the second state police pursuit in Berkeley County in five days.

Last Wednesday, a Damascus, Md., motorcyclist led a state police sergeant on a pursuit on W.Va. 9 after the officer tried unsuccessfully to stop the suspect at a W.Va. 9 construction zone near the Opequon bridge.

The pursuit, joined by other police, continued into Jefferson County, where the motorcyclist struck a Jefferson County Sheriff's Department cruiser near Bakerton Road north of Charles Town, W.Va., and died, police said.

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