PRINCETON - A four-hour chase through deep woods and fields concluded Tuesday with a Charleston man facing multiple felonies including grand larceny, daytime burglary and battery on police.
James Daniel Crawford, aka “Hillbilly,” 39, of Charleston was brought to the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department after being apprehended in Twelve Mile Road. The case started about 8:30 a.m. when Mercer County 911 received a call from a Mount Horeb Road resident about somebody trying to break into a neighbor’s home.
“The neighbor was able to give a description of the vehicle and, of course, a good description of the suspect,” Chief Deputy Capt. Joe Parks said.
Deputy M.R. Lacy arrived on the scene and approached the vehicle, Parks said. Lacy noticed that the suspect was trying to get into the driver’s side. Lacy then drew his sidearm.
“He put the guy at a disadvantage and told him why he was putting the handcuffs on him. He was suspected of breaking into the house,” Parks said.
Lacy put a cuff on Crawford’s right wrist, but Crawford then spun and pushed the deputy and started running. Lacy deployed his K-9, Axle, since the dog was trained in apprehension tactics, Parks stated.
They were in a neighborhood, so Lacy made the decision not to let Axle off his leash, Parks said. Deputy C.K. Lester arrived on the scene. The deputies soon learned that another neighbor had seen a female individual get out of the vehicle and run in the opposite direction.
Parks said this female suspect, who was described as a white female with a slight build and wearing a bright tie-dye T-shirt, was still at large. Anyone with information can contact the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department at 304-487-8364.
Word about the chase spread quickly, and Mercer 911 and the sheriff’s department was soon receiving tips about Crawford’s whereabout. People reported a man matching his description - and wearing a handcuff - asking them for water or a ride.
A Twelve Mile Road resident called 911 about 12:30 p.m. and said a stranger was sitting on her porch.
“When police arrived, he ran through her house and was caught on the other side of the house,” Parks said. The woman was checked by EMS, but Parks did not know immediately if she was transported to a hospital.
Crawford is facing charges including two counts of daytime burglary in the Oakdale area, Parks said. These charges are based on descriptions of the vehicle seen in that area. Crawford is also facing charges of battery on a officer and fleeing police on foot. Most of the charges are felonies. A check of records showed that the vehicle Crawford was using had been reported stolen in Ripley, W.Va.
Parks estimated that the chase covered seven to eight miles through rugged terrain. Other law enforcement agencies assisted with the chase and cordoning off the area with roadblocks.
Parks praised the cooperation of the Princeton Police Department and the West Virginia State Police Princeton detachment.