Driver slams into deputy’s cruiser during hour-long chase


BUCKHANNON — A law enforcement pursuit that started Monday on Route 151 and seriously damaged a sheriff’s deputy cruiser ended peacefully in Adrian with two men arrested.

Kaleb Loudin, 23, of Adrian, and Rodney Rowan, 22, of Buckhannon, were found hiding about 400 yards away from their abandoned truck.

The pursuit began on Route 151 when Upshur County Sheriff’s deputy Tyler Gordon spotted a gray Ford-150 driving left of center while traveling east on Route 151, according to sheriff David Coffman.

Gordon recognized Rowan as the truck’s passenger. The sheriff’s department — along with Bill’s Bail Bonding — had been searching for Rowan, who was wanted on a bailpiece, according to Coffman.

Gordon turned on his emergency lights, but Loudin, the driver, failed to stop. Gordon then initiated his siren as the truck turned onto King School House Road going up to 70 miles per hour.

Loudin ran several people off the road, passing vehicles on the right shoulder and failing to stop at stop signs, according to Coffman.

The truck returned to Route 151 and Route 33, where it reached speeds up to 100 miles per hour. On Route 33, the truck allegedly passed vehicles on the right berm of the roadway and traveled across the median into the opposite lane of traffic to get back onto Route 151.

By then, deputy Tyler Chidester had joined the pursuit and identified the driver as Loudin. The pursuit continued into the Tallmansville area.

Gordon lost sight of the vehicle on Lee Glass Road but Upshur County 911 received a call regarding the fleeing vehicle on the Trexel McCartney Road.

“They had lost sight of him but there were enough units that were traveling all the secondary routes,” Coffman said. “They were actually tracking him by his tire marks, because of the high speed where it was sliding and different things.

“Deputy Chidester was following the tire tracks and turned onto Phillips Ridge Road, and suddenly this truck came at him in the opposite direction, rammed him and did a considerable amount of damage to the cruiser.

Chidester was not hurt, but his cruiser was out of commission and had to be towed. The 2010 Dodge Charger had been a good car and it was in good condition, Coffman said.

The sheriff was waiting to hear about whether the cruiser was fixable or not but noted that Loudin did have valid insurance, which should help with the expenses.

After hitting the cruiser, Loudin continued on toward the Alton Road. Cpl. Dewaine Linger put out stop sticks, which flattened the truck’s tires and ended the pursuit.

“They worked great,” Coffman said. “All four tires were down on the truck.”

The truck continued a short distance and turned onto the Larry Loudin Road, where it was abandoned.

Loudin and Rowan fled on foot.

“They probably ran 400 yards and they were hiding under a brush pile out in a pasture,” Coffman said. “There were enough units there on the scene where they were basically able to corral them at gunpoint  without incident and both were arrested and taken into custody.”

Coffman said he was listening to the pursuit and considering whether to stop it, but decided to let it continue when it moved further out in the county.

“I’m always concerned about any pursuit,” he said. “I have stopped them in the past. An innocent person could be hurt. If the pursuit had stayed close to the Buckhannon area, being that time of day and with traffic, I probably would have stopped it, but it seemed like it was heading more into the country.”

Monday’s chase was the second in three days and there have been several in recent months.

Coffman said he attributes some of the pursuits to drugs but also believes there is a lack of respect for law enforcement.

Both Rowan and Loudin had money and methamphetamine on them, and digital scales and marijuana and methamphetamine smoking pipes were also found, according to Coffman.

Neither were charged with any drug-related offenses on Tuesday. Loudin did consent to a blood drawl but those results were not back Tuesday morning.

Loudin was arrested for fleeing from an officer in reckless disregard for the safety of others and conspiracy, both felonies. Rowan was also arrested for conspiracy, a felony.

Magistrate Mike Coffman set bond at $175,000 for Loudin and $150,000 for Rowan.

In the previous, unrelated  chase Friday, Joshua Alden Tenney, 29, of Buckhannon, was also arrested for fleeing in a vehicle with reckless indifference, a felony.

Deputy Seth Cutright was assisting Trooper P.J. Robinette looking for Tenney, and Robinette located the motorcycle on Fifth Street, according to the criminal complaint.

Robinette attempted to make a stop for improper display of registration, but the motorcyclist fled. Cutright joined in the pursuit on Route 33, where Robinette was traveling over 90 mph. The pursuit turned onto Brushy Fork Road, where Tenney passed vehicles in blind curves and was traveling over 70 miles per hour, according to the complaint. When Tenney turned onto Stone Coal Road, he lost control and wrecked. Tenney fled on foot but Cutright apprehended him.

Coffman set bond at $75,000.

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