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Man jumps about 100 feet off of W.Va. bridge

August 14, 2008

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A man who led Harpers Ferry Police Chief Donald Buracker on a chase through Bolivar, W.Va., and along U.S. 340 Wednesday afternoon ended the incident when he jumped between 100 and 125 feet off a bridge along U.S. 340 near the intersection with W.Va. 230, Buracker said.

The man landed next to railroad tracks and suffered a broken leg, police said.

The man was flown to Inova Fairfax (Va.) Hospital but his injuries were not life-threatening, police said.

Buracker would only identify the man as a 30-year-old Kearneysville, W.Va., resident.

Buracker said the incident started at 4:12 p.m., when he waved a blue Plymouth Laser over on Washington Street in Bolivar after he heard a loud stereo in the car.

Buracker said he could smell an odor of alcohol coming from the car and asked the driver for his driver's license.

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The man handed over his license but then jerked it from Buracker and drove away, passing a car near Elm Street and striking a tree after losing control in a curve, Buracker said.

The driver backed up and headed east on Washington Street, traveling 92 mph in Bolivar, Buracker said.

The man turned right on Union Street and headed south on U.S. 340 toward Charles Town, Buracker said.

At the former Cliffside Inn crossover, the man switched lanes and began traveling south in the northbound lanes of U.S. 340, Buracker said.

At the intersection with W.Va. 230, the man struck a car being driven by an off-duty U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer, said Sgt. Ron Fletcher of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, who also responded.

That officer was not hurt, Fletcher said.

The driver then struck the bridge he jumped over, and Buracker hit the man's car, Buracker said.

Buracker said he was not hurt and his cruiser had minor damage.

Fletcher said, "I don't know how he did it," of the man's long fall.

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