Arrest follows police pursuit


BUCKANNON — A local man remains jailed following the high-speed police chase that ended with a crash early Sunday evening.  Rodney Allen Rowan, age 24, now faces five felony and two misdemeanor charges stemming from the incident.

According to the criminal complaint, WV State Police Troopers J.S. Tonkin and P.J. Robinette were conducting road patrol near the Buckhannon Sheetz when they noticed a silver 2000 Ford Focus traveling north with an expired inspection sticker.  When the officers turned to follow the car, it reportedly began to accelerate at a high rate of speed. The officer initiated the cruiser lights, followed by sirens, in attempt to stop the vehicle, which continued to flee in the wrong lane. 

The officers pursued the vehicle at speeds over 70 mph, as it passed several cars in no passing zones. In the curve just past Turkey Run, items were observed being thrown out of the driver’s side window, according to the report.  Moments later, the car lost control and veered off the left side of the road just before the Eagles Club, striking the Kelley’s garage and shearing off a utility pole in their yard, before crashing into the creek. 

Both Troopers ran to the car, where they made contact with the driver, Rodney Rowan. The accused was placed into custody and a safety search revealed a small baggy containing a substance believed to be marijuana. When asked what he threw out the window, the accused reportedly told officers it was “a couple ounces of meth”. Rowan also claimed possession of a red Cobra .380 handgun that was found in the driver’s side floorboard. Further investigation determined Rowan’s operators was suspended/revoked due to an unpaid citation suspension and he also had an active capias from Upshur County Circuit Court dated Nov. 22.

Officers continued to search the area where Rowan had thrown items out the window and reportedly found several bags of methamphetamine, which totaled over three ounces.  A further search of the vehicle also yielded 17 tablets of presumed ecstasy and two sets of digital scales.

The other unnamed male was initially detained during the investigation, but only the driver was taken into custody. The unnamed female occupant of the car was transported to the hospital with minor injuries, according to Deputy Tyler Gordon. 

Rowan was charged with prohibited person possessing firearm, fleeing with reckless indifference, driving revoked for DUI – third, two counts of possession with intent to deliver controlled substances, driving while license suspended and possession of marijuana. The accused remains at Tygart Valley Regional Jail in lieu of a combined bond set at $152,000 plus LET fees on each, by Magistrate Mike Coffman.

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