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Police chase ends in Martinsburg

man wanted in Va. held

May 29, 2009

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A high-speed chase that began in northern Virginia ended early Friday in Martinsburg when the driver crashed into two parked cars and a utility pole, according to the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office.

Kenneth E. Hite, 37, of Front Royal, Va., was taken to Eastern Regional Jail and arraigned Firday morning by Berkeley County Magistrate JoAnn Overington, according to police and court records. Hite was wanted in Warren County, Va., on a felony assault charge, the sheriff's department said in a news release.

Overington arraigned Hite on one count of fleeing while driving under the influence and set his bond at $25,000, according to court records.

Berkeley County Sheriff's Deputy S.D. Myers received information at 4:18 a.m. that a man, possibly armed with a shotgun, was driving a blue Cadillac north on U.S. 11., and that police were pursuing him, according to the release.

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Myers took over the pursuit when the Cadillac crossed into West Virginia. The Cadillac reached speeds of more than 75 mph in a 45-mph zone, according to a complaint Myers filed with the court. During a 12-mile pursuit into the City of Martinsburg, the Cadillac's left-front tire fell apart and another deputy used stop sticks to deflate the right-front tire, the release said.

The Cadillac ran three red lights and lost control when it entered the city, striking two parked vehicles and a utility pole on the 700 block of Winchester Avenue, the release said.

Hite was taken into custody and treated at City Hospital in Martinsburg, then taken to jail, according to police and court records.

No weapon was found in the vehicle, the release said.

The pursuit involved the Warren and Frederick County (Va.) sheriff's departments, the Winchester (Va.) Police Department, West Virginia State Police and the Martinsburg Police Department, according to court records.

-- Matthew Umstead

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