Area man in high-speed chase apprehended

A Buckhannon man who escaped from police after leading them on a vehicular chase through town last month was arrested Tuesday on an unrelated charge – burglary.

Jonathan David Cochran, 19, of 243 Foxmill Drive, was charged with one count of daytime burglary, a felony, after he allegedly broke into a residence on Oct. 29 in the Vegan area of Upshur County.

Upon his arrest, Cochran was also charged with one misdemeanor count of fleeing in a vehicle and one misdemeanor count of fleeing no vehicle; those charges stem from an incident that transpired Oct. 14.

According to the criminal complaint filed in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s office, the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office investigated a break-in that took place Oct. 29 at 806 Lassiter Road in the Vegan area. The investigating officer, Cpl. Theron Caynor, noted that the back door of the residence was “kicked in” and several items had been removed, the complaint states.

In a statement submitted to the sheriff’s office, another individual allegedly told Caynor that he and Jonathan Cochran went to the residence, and upon arrival, Jonathan Cochran “went to the back of the residence … and came back with an armload of stuff.”

The person who provided the information to Caynor said that when he saw Jonathan Cochran later in the evening, Jonathan Cochran was in possession of a camera, a safe and an iPad that he had allegedly removed from the Lassiter Road residence.

Jonathan Cochran has eluded authorities since Oct. 14, when he and his brother, William Cochran, allegedly led police on a chase – first in vehicles and then on foot – through north Buckhannon. According to previous reports, Trooper T.A. Menendez with the Buckhannon detachment of the West Virginia State Police was on routine traffic patrol when he witnessed a green Jeep being driven by Jonathan Cochran turn from the Vicksburg Road onto Upper Drive. Menendez said William Cochran was sitting in the passenger seat of the Jeep and neither he nor Jonathan Cochran, the driver, were wearing seatbelts.

Menendez had planned on citing the two for seatbelt violations, but when he attempted to stop the Jeep, it turned left onto the Vicksburg Road and then made another immediate left onto Route 151. The Jeep continued north up Florida Street, at which point Cpl. Mark Stewart with the Buckhannon Police Department and Caynor with the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office joined in the pursuit, activating their lights and sirens – but to no avail.

According to the complaint filed Oct. 14 by Caynor, the Jeep eventually turned up Trus Joist Road and then onto Industrial Park Road.

“All the cruisers had their lights and sirens running when the vehicle turned onto an access road,” Caynor noted. “We went to the end of that road and the green Jeep continued off onto a rough dirt road in the brush going around a high wall.”

At that point, Stewart “back tracked” and spotted the vehicle near some brush; he was then able to apprehend William Cochran in a field. However, officers were not able to catch Jonathan Cochran, and he remained at large until his arrest Tuesday. William Cochran, who was charged with one misdemeanor count of fleeing no vehicle, provided a written statement to sheriff’s deputies in which he indicated that Jonathan Cochran – his brother – was the driver of the Jeep.

Jonathan Cochran was arraigned by Magistrate Mike Coffman, who set bond at $50,000 for the felony burglary charge, $15,000 for the misdemeanor fleeing in a vehicle charge and $10,000 for the misdemeanor fleeing no vehicle charge.

Jonathan Cochran remained in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail on a $75,000 bond as of presstime. William Cochran is free on bond.

The penalty for a conviction of daytime burglary is imprisonment for one to 10 years in a state penitentiary. The penalty for a conviction of fleeing in a vehicle is a fine between $500 and $1,000 and confinement in a regional jail for up to a year, and the penalty for a conviction of fleeing no vehicle is a fine between $50 and $500, imprisonment in a regional jail for up to a year, or both.