Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

February 25, 2014

Man facing two counts of attempted murder following high-speed police chase in Princeton

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — A man wanted out of Virginia is facing multiple charges today, including two counts of attempted murder, following an early-morning high-speed chase with officers with the Princeton Police Department that ended with the suspect vehicle striking and knocking a police cruiser into a power line.

The chase began at 1:48 a.m. on Courthouse Road in Princeton when Lt. E.T. Pugh of the Princeton Police Department observed a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed, Princeton Police Chief J.W. Howell said.

Howell said the suspect vehicle registered 64 mph in a 45 mph zone. The officer attempted to initiate a traffic stop, but the suspect vehicle pulled into the parking lot of Sheetz on Courthouse Road, didn’t stop and accelerated through the parking lot. The suspect then turned onto the Old Bluefield-Princeton Road.

At that point, other officer with the Princeton Police Department, and deputies with the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department, joined in the pursuit. During the chase, the suspect vehicle struck two Princeton Police Department cruisers causing minor front end damage to the vehicles.

Howell said Officer E.D. Leftwich at that point was sitting on the side of the road on Old Bluefield-Princeton Road, next to the junction at U.S. Route 460, when the suspect vehicle entered a sharp curve, lost control and struck the police cruiser — knocking it about 35 to 40 feet off the side of the road and into a utility pole. Both the police cruiser and the suspect vehicle then came to a stop.

Howell said Officer Leftwich had to be extricated from the police cruiser. He was then airlifted to Roanoke Memorial Hospital where he was treated and later released. The suspect, who is wanted on charges out of both Charlottesville, Va., and Waynesboro, Va., also was airlifted to Roanoke Memorial Hospital where he remains hospitalized.

Howell said the man will face multiple charges on the city level, including two counts of attempted murder for the officer vehicles that were struck. Howell said additional charges also are pending with the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department.