Man tries to evade police by swimming across river

BUCKHANNON — A Buckhannon man who escaped from custody went for a swim in the Buckhannon River before being apprehended Thursday afternoon.

Allen Blake Wolford, 26, was arrested Thursday for domestic battery third offense and burglary warrants, according to chief Matt Gregory with the Buckhannon Police Department. Sgt. Tom Posey arrested Wolford after finding him at Goodwill but then turned him over to Lt. Doug Loudin, who took him to Upshur County Magistrate Court, where he was arraigned before Magistrate Kay Hurst. Bond was set at $85,000.

Loudin escorted Wolford back to his cruiser, and Wolford, while handcuffed, escaped from Loudin’s custody before he could get him in the cruiser.

“He began to run eastbound away from the courthouse,” Gregory said.

Loudin radioed for help and Gregory, who was nearby, and Upshur County sheriff’s deputies joined in the foot pursuit.

“We searched the surrounding alley and streets for about five to 10 minutes,” Gregory said. “We saw him again continuing to flee east. This time he was just past the 88 Restaurant, fleeing toward Factory Street.”

Gregory and Loudin closed in on Wolford near the street department garage, where Gregory realized Wolford had gone over the railroad tracks, down the bank and was in the Buckhannon River.

“I confronted him at the river,” Gregory said. “He was actually in the river and wouldn’t come out.”

Gregory asked the sheriff’s deputies to head to Island Avenue in case Wolford decided to go all the way across. Loudin joined the deputies on the opposite side of the bank, and when Wolford exited the river, he was taken back into custody without further incident.

Wolford now also faces a third felony, escape.

He was arraigned before Magistrate Mike Coffman early Friday and bond was set at $125,000, making Wolford’s total bond $210,000.

The original charges stemmed from a Feb. 19 incident in which Wolford allegedly entered the Cleveland Avenue home of his ex-girlfriend demanding to know where an unknown male was and searched the home to “beat up” this unknown or imaginary male, according to the criminal complaint.

Wolford allegedly slammed the head of his ex-girlfriend against the wall, causing scratch marks on her chest. Cpl. Nick Caynor with the BPD investigated that incident. Wolford had two prior guilty pleas for domestic assault on March 11,2016 and Nov. 7, 2016.

If convicted, Wolford faces one to five years in prison for escape from custody, one to three years in prison and a fine of $3,000 to $5,000 for domestic battery third offense, and one to 10 years for daytime burglary.

In a separate case, the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department responded to a suspicious vehicle at the Dollar General store in Tennerton on Feb. 21.

Cpl. Dewaine Linger wrote in the criminal complaint that he responded to a call of a vehicle sitting at Dollar General with two males in the front and a female passed out in the backseat.

“When this officer arrived on scene, it was just as described,” Linger said in the complaint.

The driver of the vehicle, Thad Richard Marsh, 27, of Buckhannon, allegedly admitted to Linger that he had driven the vehicle to the parking lot approximately 20 minutes prior.

Linger noticed the license plate was expired since September 2013 and a plastic strip had been placed on the license plate to obstruct the view.

Marsh’s license had been suspended for mandatory insurance effective Nov. 3, 2016 and Marsh had a prior conviction of driving suspended from 2012 in Doddridge County.

Marsh was arrested for driving suspended second offense and cited for expired registration, inspection sticker expired and no insurance. Hurst set bond at $5,000.


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