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High-speed motorcycle chase on I-81 leads to arrest in Martinsburg

August 02, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A 23-year-old motorcycle rider is accused of leading police on a high-speed pursuit in Berkeley County that topped 130 mph on Interstate 81 Thursday night, according to magistrate court records.

On Friday morning Berkeley County Magistrate Robert L. Lowe II arraigned Lance Michael Gibson of Brilliant Stone Drive, Martinsburg, on one felony count of fleeing law enforcement (on) a motor vehicle, two misdemeanor counts of reckless driving and single counts of speeding, passing in a no passing zone, traveling left of center and failure to signal turn within 100 feet of an intersection, the court records said.

At one point in the pursuit, West Virginia State Police Cpl. D.S. See said he reached 138 mph in an attempt to catch up with the motorcycle on I-81, according to the trooper’s complaint.

See was on patrol in the I-81 construction zone near Exit 20 when Berkeley County Sheriff’s Deputy Lt. Gary Harmison reported a “crotch rocket” motorcycle was being operated recklessly on the highway about four miles north of the trooper’s position, the court records said.

Harmison reported the motorcycle had a pink headlight, and the driver had performed a “wheelie” for about 100 yards on the bike while traveling south, the records said.

See said he subsequently saw about a dozen similar type motorcycles pass by his position near Exit 20, and he and Sheriff’s Deputy R.T. Lippman pulled behind them.

Lippman, who was driving in front of See, activated his cruiser’s emergency lights, and the motorcycles appeared to be slowing down and pulling over when one of the bikes suddenly sped away and attempted to flee from the deputy, according to See’s complaint.

In his pursuit, See said the motorcycle, a white Honda, passed several vehicles on the left shoulder of the highway before leaving I-81 at Exit 14.

The motorcycle then crossed over Dry Run Road and returned to the southbound lanes of the highway via the Exit 14 entrance ramp and exceeded 130 mph, weaving in and out of traffic recklessly in an attempt to evade the trooper, the complaint said.

The pursuit continued onto Exit 12, where the motorcycle turned onto Apple Harvest Drive without signaling and then exceeded the 45 mph speed limit posted for the road, traveling 70 to 80 mph, the complaint said.

The pursuit west on Apple Harvest Drive continued for about 2.5 miles before the motorcyclist slowed down and pulled into a driveway in the 12000 block and parked. The driver, who was then identified as Gibson, was arrested there, the court documents said.

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