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Buckhannon man sentenced in fleeing case

The Inter-Mountain photo by Amanda Hayes Colten Lee Foster is pictured here with attorney Ira Richardson during his sentencing hearing Tuesday in Upshur County Circuit Court.

BUCKHANNON — A man who fled from Upshur County deputies in February and was found by the K-9 was sentenced Tuesday in Upshur County Circuit Court.

Colten Lee Foster, 26, of Buckhannon, was previously indicted in May on two counts of fleeing on foot, a misdemeanor, one felony count of fleeing in a vehicle with reckless indifference to the safety of others, two misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance.

In November, he pleaded guilty to fleeing in a vehicle with reckless indifference to the safety of others, a felony.

Foster’s attorney Ira Richardson noted Foster’s criminal history including a prior felony conviction (two counts of burglary) and a number of petit larcenies. Foster said much of the crime revolves around Foster’s drug addiction.

“He is still young and he has quite a bit of time left he could redeem himself and turn his life around,” Richardson said.

Foster previously completed a stint at the Anthony Center for Youthful Male Offenders and was placed on probation. However, that probation was revoked with the new charges.

Richardson asked 26th Judicial Circuit Judge Jake Reger to show as much leniency as possible and noted Foster was facing a lengthy prison sentence for violating his parole on the previous felony.

Reger noted Foster’s criminal history and that the current case was “very serious.”

“He took off from the officers, was traveling at a high rate of speed and conditions were not good,” Reger said. “It creates a danger to the community.”

Prosecuting attorney Brian Hinkle said the state had agreed to stand silent on the recommendation for sentencing.

Reger sentenced Foster to one to five years in prison and gave him 18 months to pay the $1,000 fine.

There is no credit for time served because Foster was beheld on the bond revocation, according to Reger.

The remaining counts of the indictment were dismissed.

In a separate case, Randi Jackson, 30, represented by Jamella Lockwood, pled guilty on April 4 to child neglect creating substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury, a felony. She has completed an inpatient program for drug rehabilitation and would be going to phase two for a six month to two-year program, according to Lockwood, who asked for probation for her client.

Hinkle said that based on the plea agreement reached, if Jackson continues to do well with treatment, the state wouldn’t oppose alternative sentencing.

Reger stopped the hearing at that point and asked for Jackson to be drug tested. The test was negative for all substances.

When the hearing resumed, Lockwood said a bump in the road along the way led to Jackson going to Ray of Hope where she has done extremely well in the in-patient program.

“She looks wonderful today…she has maintained sobriety and has basically done everything we have asked her to do,” Lockwood said.

A pre-sentence investigation shows minor criminal history but this was Jackson’s first major charge.

“We have discussed that and she understands how serious that was,” Lockwood said. “She never desires to go back to the way things were.”

For her part, Jackson told the court, “Ray of Hope has saved my life. It’s structured with freedom. They are teaching me how to live again.”

Jackson said she was grateful for everything.

“I appreciate all the help you have given me because I wouldn’t have done it on my own. I’m truly sorry.”

Jackson was arrested along with her husband at the time, James Jackson, 31, for using heroin while their juvenile daughter was at home in 2018.

Both Jacksons had been found unconscious by emergency responders and Randi Jackson had to be revived with Narcan, according to a previous article. There were needles and two spoons with a white powder substance present.

Reger said, “This charge is serious though. It’s very serious to the court. The facts are you overdosed and you weren’t able to care for your children because of that.”

In August, James Jackson was sentenced one to five years in prison with the sentence suspended and he was placed on probation for five years. He had also reached a plea agreement in which he pleaded guilty to child neglect creating substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury, a felony.

“I don’t think you are bad people,” he said. “I think you just have an addiction issue that has been very difficult for you to deal with.”

With that, Reger sentenced Randi Jackson to one to five years in prison but suspended that sentence and placed her on supervised probation for five years.

Jackson will also have to complete phase II of the Ray of Hope recovery program.

“That’s what you want to do and it seems to me like that is what you need to do,” Reger said. “I am proud of you for doing what you have done to this point, but keep it up. I don’t want to send you to prison but I will if you violate your probation.”

Both Jacksons have had to register for the Child Abuse and Neglect Registry.

In a separate case, John Junior Shipman II, 40, represented by David Fuellhart III, reached a plea agreement before Judge Kurt Hall Tuesday morning.

Shipman had been indicted in May for one felony count of delivery of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, within 1,000 feet of a school and one felony count of possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, with the intent to deliver within 1,000 feet of a school.

Under the agreement, Shipman pled guilty to possession with intent to deliver, a controlled substance, methamphetamine.

“I was a passenger in a car that got pulled over for not having an inspection sticker,” Shipman told the court. “I was searched and they found two bags of methamphetamine on me and I was arrested for intent.”

Shipman said he planned to deliver the meth to someone else and he was under the influence of meth at the time.

Hall accepted the plea and set sentencing for March 2 at 1:30 p.m.