Traffic stop leads to felony charge

ELKINS — An Elkins man is facing felony charges after a routine traffic stop.

Cornell Lee Smith, 53, is charged with driving revoked for DUI — third offense. Bond was set at $25,000 by Randolph County Magistrate Mike Dyer.

According to the criminal complaint filed by Trooper R.C. Watson of the West Virginia State Police, he was conducting routine traffic patrol on the Beverly Five-lane when he observed a vehicle with an illegible registration and a large item partially hanging out of the trunk at approximately 8:45 a.m. on Tuesday.

The report states that after Watson pulled the vehicle over, he observed the male driver, later identified as Smith, jump into the back seat and trade places with a female passenger. After the female passenger was instructed to step out of the vehicle, Watson inquired as to what was inside the vehicle, to which the female passenger replied that there were “needles and possibly marijuana”; the passenger then retrieved an unmarked pill bottle containing marijuana and several types of pills.

Watson and Patrolman Butcher of the Elkins City Police then conducted a search of the vehicle, finding “multiple other pill bottles with multiple types of pills in them and a cigarette pack containing a white crystal like substance consistent with methamphetamine,” says the complaint. Watson then asked the female passenger who the cigarette pack belonged to, to which she replied that it was Smith’s.

The report additionally states that, when asked, Smith told Butcher that the cigarette pack belonged to him.

According to the report, Watson then found that Smith’s driver’s license had been revoked for an active DUI and that he had two prior convictions for driving revoked DUI.

If convicted, Smith could face up to three years in prison.