Upshur man charged after allegedly fleeing

BUCKHANNON — An Upshur County man is facing two felony charges for driving with a revoked license, for a third-offense DUI and after allegedly fleeing from an officer.

Joseph Patrick Herron, 34, of Buckhannon is charged with fleeing from an officer in a vehicle (reckless disregard), and driving with a revoked license, which was retracted on Nov. 18, 2010, due to driving under the influence.

According to the criminal complaint, on Aug. 14, an officer observed a silver Subaru hatchback leaving Black Diamond Towing at a high rate of speed. Upon trying to catch up to the suspected vehicle, the driver deactivated the tail lights on North Florida Street. While turning east onto Rt. 151, the officer activated his emergency lights and siren.

Herron allegedly traveled over 90 mph in a 35 mph zone, where he showed reckless indifference for the safety of others, the complaint states.

He then turned on Poplar Street and fled on foot in the direction of Reeve’s Street, which is the residence of his father, police said.

Two red sandals were left at the scene, the complaint stated.

Upon searching the vehicle, the officer recovered several clear plastic baggies commonly used in the sale and/or delivery of controlled substances and two digital scales. One scale displayed the name Joe H., according to the police report.

The owner of the vehicle, Black Diamond LLC’s owner, reportedly told the arresting officer that Herron had been working for him and would have had access to the vehicle.

On Aug. 19, the officer “arrested Herron on a bail piece issued by Walton’s Bonding Co.,” the complaint states. When Herron was interviewed, he was advised of and waived his Miranda Rights, signing a written waiver.

According to the complaint, Herron confessed to seeing the officer behind him, and admitted to fleeing, providing an account of the pursuit. He also said he was traveling approximately 140 mph, and left his sandals behind before fleeing on foot.

A second incident occurred Sept. 1, when Herron’s vehicle, a blue Jeep Cherokee, was equipped with a tinted license plate cover, police said.

During a registration check of the plate, the officer was advised there was “No Matching Record.” After initiating a traffic stop on Childer’s Run Crossing and after speaking with the driver, the officer identified the driver as Herron, police said.

The third count of driving with revoked license occurred on Sept. 22, when Herron’s vehicle registration was found to have been expired as of Sept. 1, according to the police report.

Herron had two prior convictions of a revoked license for DUI in Upshur County, with conviction dates of May 20, 2008, and Dec. 21, 2009.

Concerning the charge of driving with a revoked license, if Herron is found guilty of a felony, he shall be imprisoned in a state correctional facility for not less than one year nor more than three years, and in addition to the mandatory prison sentence, shall be fined not less than $3,000 nor more than $5,000.

If Herron is found guilty of fleeing from an officer in a vehicle, he shall be fined not less than $1,000 nor more than $2,000 and shall be imprisoned in a state correctional facility not less than one nor more than five years.