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Pursuit ends with man being charged in attempted robbery of 7-Eleven

June 27, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A man accused of attempting to rob a 7-Eleven in Martinsburg early Wednesday later crashed the car he was driving on Tuscarora Pike while police were pursuing him, according to court records.

James Fairfax Settle, 22, of 14 Boarman Place was arraigned by Berkeley County Magistrate Harry L. Snow on charges of attempted robbery, assault during the commission of or attempt to commit a felony, fleeing while driving under the influence, felony fleeing in a vehicle, DUI and reckless driving.

Settle was being held in Eastern Regional Jail on $240,000 bond, according to jail and court records.

Settle told police that he took Xanax and had been drinking prior to driving his mother’s car to the 7-Eleven to rob the store at the intersection of Winchester Avenue and West King Street to support his drug habit, according to court documents.

Police responded to the store at 1:34 a.m. to investigate a reported fight. Witnesses told police Settle entered the store, told two female clerks inside he was going to “jack this place,” and then jumped over the counter and tried to rob the business, the court documents said.

Police said Settle later admitted in an interview that he shoved one clerk when he tried to rob the business, and then was thrown out of the store by two unidentified men.

The clerk who was shoved by Settle shoved him back, and one of the men in the store grabbed the defendant, the documents said. The other clerk ran outside the store to get help.

The second man then joined in the struggle with Settle and helped throw him out of the store, the documents said.

Police were told Settle then fled in a black Grand Am, which patrol Officer Eric Neely later spotted traveling on Fleming Alley toward Raleigh Street, the documents said.

After Neely attempted to the stop the vehicle when it entered a nearby church overflow parking lot, he turned back on to the alley and sped away, the documents said. The suspect then turned north onto Tuskegee Drive and drove through intersections at Martin and Race streets without heeding stop signs.

The vehicle continued across Race Street into the Martin’s Distributors parking lot and then abruptly turned back toward Race Street, nearly striking  Neely’s cruiser, the documents said.

The vehicle then headed onto the Winchester & Western Railroad tracks and eventually turned south on Tuskegee Drive, where the driver did not heed stop signs at the intersections for Martin, Burke and King streets, the documents said.

After turning west on King Street, the vehicle increased in speed to about 80 mph and traveled across the center line several times, cresting the hill at Red Hill Road in the eastbound lane, the documents said.

The driver eventually lost control of the vehicle after traveling west of Interstate 81, where it crashed next to a home at 9426 Tuscarora Pike, the documents said.

Police said Neely was not wearing his seat belt and did not have his driver’s license.

“When asked where his ID was, he stated that ‘A guy who is going to rob a store doesn’t take his ID with him,’” Martinsburg Police Sgt. Craig Phelps said in court documents.

The concentration of alcohol in the defendant’s blood was determined to be .038, the documents said. The legal limit is .08.

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