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Mother, son taken to hospital after two-vehicle collision

Driver, passenger of second vehicle arraigned on various charges

February 25, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A 4-year-old boy and his mother were taken to a hospital Monday morning after the car they were riding in was struck by a motorist who police say was fleeing from them at a high rate of speed.

The woman told authorities that her son was injured and that she was in pain before they were taken from the crash site near Hedgesville (W.Va.) High School to City Hospital in Martinsburg, according to Berkeley County Magistrate Court documents.

The driver of the vehicle that was pursued by police, Steven David Cole, of 223 Crestview Drive, Martinsburg, was later arraigned by Magistrate Harry L. Snow on single felony counts of fleeing in vehicle in a reckless manner and fleeing in vehicle causing bodily injury, according to court documents.

He also was arraigned on two misdemeanor counts of failing to render aid and single counts of fleeing on foot, possession of marijuana and leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, documents state.

Cole, 25, was being held in Eastern Regional Jail on Monday night on a $43,500 bond, according to jail records.

Richard Nguyen, a passenger in the car that Cole was driving, was arraigned on two counts of failure to render aid and single counts of fleeing on foot and obstructing police, according to court and jail records.

Nguyen, 21, of 807 West Virginia Ave., Martinsburg, was being held in jail on a $10,500 bond, according to court and jail records.

Prior to the crash on Hedgesville Road, West Virginia State Police Trooper J.J. Bowman determined that a vehicle, a green Honda Civic, was going 80 mph in a 45-mph zone, according to a complaint filed by the officer in magistrate court.

The car passed a dump truck on a double yellow line and then passed more vehicles in the school zone at Hedgesville High before striking the front driver’s side of a Pontiac Torrent that it also attempted to pass, according to court documents.

The vehicle contact caused the Honda to spin clockwise and then it crossed the centerline and struck a Ford Fusion, which was carrying the woman and her son, according to court documents.

The driver of the Pontiac was not injured, police said.

Trooper Bowman began pursuing the Honda about 8:30 a.m. Monday after overhearing communication that Martinsburg Police were pursuing the vehicle in the city on Tennessee Avenue, according to court documents.

From Tennessee Avenue, the vehicle turned onto West King Street and then turned onto Interstate 81 north, according to court documents.

The vehicle exited the highway at Exit 14, turned right on Tavern Road and turned right again onto North Tennessee Avenue and then into the City Hospital parking lot where Bowman lost sight of the car, according to court documents.

The Honda resurfaced in Briarwood subdivision in Martinsburg off Tennessee Avenue and then returned to I-81 north before exiting at Exit 16 (Berkeley Springs, W.Va.), according to court documents.

Once on Hedgesville Road, the vehicle turned right onto Harlan Springs Road where Bowman observed the car was traveling at a high rate of speed. The vehicle turned left onto Hamilton Court into Gantt’s Mobile Home Community, traveled through the yard at 130 Hamilton Court and turned back onto Harlan Springs Road traveling south toward Hedgesville Road, according to court documents.

The vehicle passed four vehicles on the right-hand side, off the roadway, and then turned right onto Hedgesville Road where Sgt. J.D. Burkhart and Berkeley County Sheriff’s deputy C.S. Welcome joined the pursuit, according to court documents.

After the crash, both men fled from the Honda on foot, with one running north and the other going west, according to court documents.

Nguyen was seen hiding behind a building and arrested. Cole was captured by Burkhart and sheriff’s deputy C. Pearson, according to court documents.

Police found marijuana in the driver’s side door of the suspect vehicle after searching it, according to court documents.

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