High-speed chase leads to arrest

Chewning

ELKINS — A Randolph County man is facing a felony charge after allegedly leading several law enforcement officers on a high-speed chase.

Nicholas Alan Chewning, 31, of Elkins, is charged with one felony count of fleeing with reckless indifference. He is incarcerated at Tygart Valley Regional Jail on a $75,000 cash, surety or property bond, set by Randolph County Magistrate Rob Elbon.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Randolph County Magistrate Court, at approximately 10:41 p.m. Saturday, Elkins Police Department Patrolman C.G. Boatwright was patrolling in the area of South Davis Avenue when he observed a white truck make an abrupt right turn onto 14th Street. The driver then came back onto South Davis Avenue behind Boatwright, causing him to follow the vehicle.

The truck was accelerating and decelerating abruptly and ran several stop signs and stop lights as the driver led Boatwright on a chase around Elkins, failing to yield to his lights and sirens, according to the complaint.

The driver got stuck behind vehicles at a stoplight at the “Veterans Intersection” where Boatwright and Patrolman D.T. Sayre, also of EPD, attempted to box him in.

Both officers exited their cruisers and instructed the driver, identified as Chewning, to exit the vehicle.

At that time, Chewning put the vehicle in reverse and began to back up toward other vehicles on the roadway as well as pedestrians on the sidewalk. He continued to back up until he reached the intersection of Railroad Avenue and Sixth Street, then ran a stop sign on Sixth Street as he traveled onto Randolph Avenue, the complaint states.

Chewning accelerated to roughly 50 mph as he traveled on Sycamore Street onto Harpertown Road then onto Cravens Run Road. He slowed down slightly as he continued onto Shavers Fork Road then onto Government Road headed into Tucker County.

Trooper 1st Class C.E. Elliott and Trooper 1st Class D.T. Stallings, both of the West Virginia State Police, caught up to the chase, and Tucker County Sheriff Brian Wilfong met the vehicle forcing Chewning to stop.

Officers approached the vehicle and gave verbal commands to turn off and exit the vehicle, all of which were refused by Chewning. Sayre broke out the passenger window of the vehicle and applied an “approximate one second burst of OC Spray” which had no effect, according to the complaint.

Stallings then entered the vehicle and attempted to “assist” Chewning from the vehicle causing him to become “very combative.”

Boatwright broke out the driver’s side window of the vehicle before he and Sayre removed Chewning from the vehicle. He became “highly combative” and refused all commands, the complaint states.

Once Chewning was on the ground, officers attempted to place him in hand restraints but were unable to gain control of him. Elliot then deployed a taser onto Chewning which “only made him more combative.” Chewning attempted to remove the taser prongs.

Sayre again tried to place Chewning in hand restraints; however, he was unable to do so and Chewning attempted to strike officers with the opened end of the restraint, according to the complaint.

Boatwright was able to assist Sayre and get Chewning into the restraints. After being placed into the back of a police cruiser, Chewning then “continued to resist violently.”

He was transported to Davis Medical Center for evaluation before being discharged by medical personnel and transported to TVRJ.

Boatwright noted in the report that based on his knowledge, training and experience, he believed Chewning to be under the influence of a controlled substance, alcohol, or both.

While at DMC, blood was collected from Chewning that will be sent to the WVSP crime lab for testing, the complaint states.

If convicted, Chewning could be sentenced to not less than one nor more than that five years in the state penitentiary and fined not less than $1,000 nor more than $2,000.

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