Deputy: Man flees up to 90 mph in chase


BUCKHANNON – A Buckhannon man was arrested after a pre-Thanksgiving police chase that moved from Upshur into Lewis County and reached speeds up to 90 mph.

Joseph M. Bevans, 27, was arrested for child neglect creating risk of injury, a felony, fleeing form an officer in a vehicle with reckless indifference, a felony, fleeing or attempting to flee from law-enforcement while under the influence, a felony, and DUI controlled substance, a misdemeanor.

On Nov. 19, deputy Tyler Gordon observed a white Mercury Mountaineer traveling south on Route 20 in French Creek which he said matched the description of a vehicle possibly bearing a stolen license plate that had been called into the Upshur Comm. Center hours earlier, according to the criminal complaint in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s office. After confirming that the vehicle did have the above stated stolen license plate, Gordon attempted to initiate a traffic stop on the vehicle by activating his emergency blue lights.

The driver of the vehicle failed to stop and Gordon activated his siren but the vehicle continued to flee, traveling over 70 miles per hour in a marked 40 mph zone, according to the criminal complaint.

The vehicle swerved and drifted from the right hand white line into the opposing lane of traffic, across the left hand white line stradling the center and driving extremely recklessly, according ot the criminal complaint.

The chase reached speeds up to 90 miles per hour to include through another 40 mph zone in Rock Cave on Route 4.

All the while, the vehicle continued fleeing in the same reckless manner, driving in the opposing lane, off the roadway to the left around blind curves. If the vehicle had met a vehicle coming in the opposite direction, a crash would have been imminent, according to the complaint.

The pursuit then moved into Lewis County via Route 19 where the vehicle struck a deer but continued to flee.

“The vehicle fled in the same manner through Lewis County, until the vehicle became so overworked, the engine began to smoke,” Gordon wrote in the criminal complaint.

Bevan veered off the roadway to the left, crossing the opposing lane once again.

“At this time, the driver and passenger both exited the vehicle and continued to flee on foot from Gordon and Senior Trooper P.J. Robinette with the Buckhannon detachment of the West Virginia State Police.

Robinette apprehended Bevans while Gordon caught the 16-year-old male juvenile passenger nearby. The juvenile and a second passenger that stayed in the vehicle were interviewed and both said they were unwilling participants of fleeing from law enforcement in the vehicle.

“The defendant did participate in smoking marijuana with the 16-year-old juvenile passenger and did place both passengers lives in danger by recklessly fleeing from the police,” Gordon stated in the criminal complaint.

Gordon stated he observed Bevans had a raspy voice, slowed response to the deputy’s questions, disorientation, droopy eyelids, the odor of marijuana and red, water eyes.

“The defendant was unsteady, lethargic and uncoordinated while both walking and standing,” Gordon wrote in the criminal complaint. “The defendant stated his head was hurting and refused field sobriety.”

Bevans was transported by Lewis County EMS to Stonewall Jackson Hospital for treatment and law enforcement in Lewis County obtained a search warrant to obtain a sample of blood from the defendant for toxicology analysis. All occupants admitted to smoking marijuana with the defendant while inside the suspect vehicle.”

Lewis County Magistrate Roger Clem set bond at $10,000 cash on each of the three felonies and $5,000 on the misdemeanor for a $35,000 total bond.

Child neglect creating risk of injury carries a possible penalty of fined not less than $1,000 nor more than $3,000 or imprisoned in a state correctional facility for not less than one nor more than five years or both. Fleeing from an officer in a vehicle with reckless indifference carries a fine of $1,000 to $2,000 and imprisoned in a state correctional facility for one to five years. Fleeing or attempting to flee from law enforcement while under the influence carries imprisonment in a state correctional facility for not less than three nor more than 10 years. DUI controlled substance carries confinement in jail of one day to six months with the jail term to include actual confinement of not less than 24 hours and a fine of $100 to $500.

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