Police pursuit leads to charges

BUCKHANNON — A police pursuit in downtown Buckhannon has left an Upshur County man facing four felonies and two misdemeanors.

John Franklin Arbogast, 49, is facing felony charges for possession with intent to deliver, fleeing from an officer in a vehicle while DUI, possession of a stolen vehicle and fleeing with reckless indifference. He also is facing misdemeanor charges for driving under the influence and having no operators license for a third or subsequent offense.

Lt. Doug Lousin with the Buckhannon Police Department said Patrolman Tanner Collins initiated the pursuit because officers were aware that Arbogast did not have a driver’s license, the criminal complaint stated.

On Monday, PFC Marshall O’Connor with the BPD was advised by Upshur County Communications that Collins was in pursuit of a brown Ford F150 driven by Arbogast, on Camden Avenue, according to the complaint.

O’Connor joined the pursuit on Marion Street and became the lead vehicle with both blue lights and siren activated. While fleeing, Arbogast allegedly ran several stop signs, utilized the opposing lane to pass several vehicles, had several near head-on collisions and exceeded the speed limit by as much as 35 miles per hour on some roads, reads the police report. A female passenger was also in the vehicle during the pursuit.

Loudin said that officers documented Arbogast going 50 mph in a 35 mph zone down some streets. Officers were able to get Arbogast to stop with road blocks set up near Pringle Tree Road, Loudin said.

After Arbogast had stopped the vehicle, a registration check on the vehicle indicated that it did not belong to Arbogast and an NCIC hit showed that the vehicle was stolen out of Harrison County on June 30. A license check showed that Arbogast only had an ID card and is not a licensed driver, police said.

Arbogast and the passenger were taken into custody. O’Connor spoke with the passenger, who allegedly said that during the pursuit, Arbogast had passed her four baggies of methamphetamine and a scale and ordered her to hide it. The police report states that the passenger did hide the items in her bra and willfully turned them over to the officers.

When O’Connor asked Arbogast about the drugs he said he knew nothing about them, but then stated “I’ll take the charges for them, too,” reads the criminal complaint.

After detaining Arbogast, he told officers that he was high, and he was transported to the Buckhannon Police Department. Arbogast allegedly showed impairment as well as having constricted pupils, droopy eyelids and lack of convergence in his right eye, states the police report.

The reports notes that Arbogast consented to a blood draw and was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Arbogast has nine prior convictions in Upshur County for operating a vehicle without an operators license. Three of the convictions were guilty pleas entered on July 9, 2004; Aug. 4, 2010 and Oct. 31, 2017, Six of the convictions were no contest pleas entered on or about June 7, 2003; Sept. 2, 2003; Sept. 22, 2003; Sept. 25, 2017; Oct. 12, 2017; and Jan. 3, 2018.