Matthew David Furches

Matthew David Furches

PRINCETON — A Mercer County man is facing multiple felony charges after leading police on a high-speed chase on a motorcycle from the Princeton area to Brushfork.

Matthew David Furches, 28, of Princeton, was arrested late Friday night, Sgt. A.M. Ballard, with the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, said. Furches is charged with third-offense driving under the influence (DUI), driving revoked third-offense DUI, fleeing while DUI and fleeing with reckless indifference.

Ballard said Furches has had more than three DUI charges in the past, and at least two convictions. His driver’s license is currently revoked for the prior offenses.

The incident on Friday began around 11:30 p.m. when Ballard was patrolling on Oakvale Road. 

Ballard said he was traveling between United Rentals and the Church of God at a speed of about 47 mph, heading toward the crossroads, when two motorcycles came up behind him.

One motorcyclist, Furches, who was clocked on rear radar at a speed of 64 mph, then began passing him, he said.

Ballard said when the motorcycles was midway down the side of his cruiser, he turned on his blue lights.

“He throttled up,” Ballard said. “He was well over the speed limit before passing. Once he throttled up it was an acceleration. I activated my sirens as well as the blue lights, notified 911 and began to give chase.”

Furches was driving a 2015 black Harley Davidson with temporary tags and had a passenger — his girlfriend — on the vehicle.

Ballard said Furches continued down Oakvale Road, traveled through the four-way at the crossroads, went on to Thorn Street and then across the Straley bridge.

“He stayed on Straley and disregarded every stop sign on the street,” Ballard said.

At this point, Ballard said Furches had put some distance between them because he was slowing at each intersection to make sure no motorists were coming through.

“After he cut across Park Avenue, he cut left and came back down through Center Street,” Ballard said. “I was able to catch up with him at the Center Street and North Walker Street intersection.”

Furches then went onto to North Walker Street and, at the dead end, “jumped the curb and went through a residential yard between the shrubbery and front porch,” Ballard said. “I had to back up because I couldn’t fit through the yard.”

Ballard was able to resume the chase on Washington Avenue.

While in town, Ballard said Furches did decelerate at times, at one time reaching a low speed of 19 mph.

However, after Furches continued through Princeton and got onto Route 20 toward Bluewell, he accelerated again, Ballard said.

“His average speed, after he went through the lights near Princeton, stayed consistent at 70 mph or above,” Ballard said.

Ballard said other members of the Sheriff’s Office, Princeton Police officers and West Virginia State Police troopers assisted with the chase. “Several blocked intersections and kept us from having any major crashes.”

Furches continued down Route 20 (New Hope Road) to Bluewell. There, Trooper K.M. Saddler had the intersection at Route 20 and Route 52 blocked to prevent traffic flow.

Ballard said Furches remained in the right lane as if he were heading to Bramwell but, at the last minute, cut left toward Brushfork.

Princeton Patrolman R.S. Dyson and Ballard continued the chase southbound on Route 52.

“He was exceeding the speed limit and passing vehicles in no-passing zones,” Ballard said. “Fortunately, he didn’t hit anybody head-on or run anybody off the road.”

When approaching the Airport Road intersection, Ballard said Furches slowed and turned into the Burger King parking lot.

“Once he turned into the lot he turned hard left,” Ballard said. “He actually lost control of the bike and it skidded on its side. I’m not sure if he was trying to go in front of the building or make a hard U-turn.”

When the bike skidded, Ballard said Furches jumped up and ran. “Patrolman Dyson ordered him to the ground and he refused to comply.”

Ballard said he and Dyson were able to get Furches to the ground and take him into custody at 11:55 p.m.

Neither Furches or his passenger were injured when the bike went down, Ballard said. The girlfriend was initially detained, but was later released with no charges. 

Following the chase a firearm was found in the saddlebag of the motorcycle. Ballard said Furches is also facing a misdemeanor charge of person prohibited from carrying a concealed firearm.

Ballard praised the teamwork of all the Mercer County law enforcement agencies for their assistance with the pursuit, their control of high-traffic areas and their work in ensuring no other motorists were injured during the incident.

Ballard is coordinator for the Region Eight Highway Safety Program. “I came out at 11 p.m. (Friday night) to work DUI patrols. Since he (Furches) passed me, he was relatively easy to find.”

Furches is also on probation/parole in Tazewell County, Va., Ballard said.

— Contact Samantha Perry at sperry@bdtonline.com

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