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Hedgesville man sentenced in crash involving police cruiser

April 20, 2010

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A Hedgesville, W.Va., man was ordered to serve a 30-month jail sentence and then two to eight years in prison for engaging police in a vehicle pursuit that ended after he smashed into a West Virginia State Police cruiser.

A jury on Jan. 27 found Earl Douglas Ambrose Jr., 39, guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol, third offense; fleeing in a vehicle from a law-enforcement officer while under the influence of alcohol; driving while license revoked for driving under the influence, second offense; assault of a police officer; and fleeing an officer attempting to make an arrest.

On Monday, 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Christopher C. Wilkes ordered Ambrose to serve jail and prison sentences consecutively, and to pay $3,000 in fines and $3,664.46 in restitution to the state police for causing damage to a cruiser in the July 13, 2008, crash, according to Berkeley County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Gregory K. Jones.

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The incarceration ordered by Wilkes was the maximum allowable by law, said Jones, who prosecuted the case.

Ambrose backed into the police cruiser with a 1975 Chevrolet truck and eventually was detained by Trooper Z.L. Nine, who tackled the defendant after chasing him around his house on Cannon Hill Road near Hedgesville, police said.

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

The incident began at about 1:28 a.m. July 13 when Nine tried to stop a truck on Rock Cliff Drive near Polo Greene Drive for an expired registration and for traveling left of center, police said.

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

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