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Gerrardstown man faces weapons, fleeing and DUI charges

Richard Earl Hart was in Eastern Regional Jail Thursday night on a $43,000 bond

August 25, 2011

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A man charged with fleeing from police Wednesday night while under the influence of alcohol also is accused of pointing a large knife at an off-duty police officer outside a bar before the alleged pursuit began, according to Berkeley County Magistrate Court documents.

Richard Earl Hart, 23, of 186 Reunion Corner Road, Gerrardstown, W.Va., was charged by West Virginia State Police Trooper J.D. Brand with fleeing while DUI, DUI second offense, reckless driving, carrying a concealed weapon, brandishing a deadly weapon and no insurance, court documents state.

Hart was in Eastern Regional Jail Thursday night on a $43,000 bond set by Magistrate Harry L. Snow, according to court documents and jail records.

The defendant allegedly wielded a knife at Martinsburg Police Patrol Officer Scott Shelton at Iffie's Sports Bar in Inwood, W.Va., when the officer was attempting to leave the bar's parking lot, documents state.

Brand said in the complaint that he responded at about 11:30 p.m.

After Shelton told Hart he should probably leave the bar since employees there had asked him to leave, the defendant approached Shelton with the knife after the off-duty officer got into his vehicle, according to court documents.

The defendant began yelling and pointing the knife at Shelton before leaving the bar in a black BMW, records state.

Police caught up with the BMW on Arden Nollville Road and chased after the vehicle after it turned onto Tuscarora Pike toward Interstate 81, according to court documents.

An attempt to disable the vehicle near the intersection of Tuscarora Pike and Street of Dreams was unsuccessful, the pursuit continued on I-81 northbound where the defendant eventually stopped at mile marker 14 after traveling at a high rate of speed, according to court documents.

A knife was found on the center console of the vehicle and police also found a large military style hatchet beneath the driver seat, according to court records.

A chemical test to determine the concentration of alcohol in Hart's blood indicated the defendant's intoxication level was .190, according to court documents. The state legal limit is .08.

Hart also failed three field sobriety tests, according to court documents. The defendant was previously convicted of DUI in 2006, according to court documents.

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— Matthew Umstead

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