BUCKHANNON — A man who allegedly stole a vehicle last week was arrested for several offenses after leading law enforcement on a chase Sunday afternoon.
Colton Lester, 28, of Elyria Ohio, remains in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail on a $70,000 bond after his arrest following a vehicle and short foot pursuit.
Chief Matt Gregory with the Buckhannon Police Department said that the WVSP received a hit through a license plate reader in Weston on a Chevy Impala reported stolen from Maple Street.
Shortly after 2 p.m., Cpl. M. Dennison of the Weston detachment of the West Virginia State Police attempted to stop the vehicle on Route 33 eastbound in Upshur County, according to the criminal complaint in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s office. However, the Impala sped up instead of stopping.
Dennison advised that the vehicle turned onto the Old Weston Road and Trooper C.C. Mayle and Cpl. Theron Caynor with the sheriff’s department assisted Dennison in attempting to pull the Impala over.
Mayle met the Impala — with Dennison behind — on the Old Weston Road near St. Joseph’s Hospital and had to swerve to avoid being hit by the Impala, according to the file. Mayle turned his cruiser around and the vehicle allegedly sped up and went through the stoplight at the intersection of Route 20 and Main Street in Buckhannon.
Lester continued to travel eastbound on Main Street at approximately 70 mph, according to the criminal complaint.
“[Mayle] witnessed the suspect vehicle almost strike several innocent pedestrians and have total disregard for traffic control devices,” Mayle wrote in the criminal complaint.
Buckhannon Police Department Patrolman First Class Joshua Wilson went to College Avenue to intercept the vehicle, but Caynor said they lost the vehicle on Sedgewick Street. Wilson located the vehicle parked on the sidewalk on Lightburn Street.
He approached the vehicle but noticed a male in a red shirt run around the corner of a residence. Wilson said “stop” and the male, later identified as Lester, continued around the corner. Wilson ran after Lester with his duty weapon and Lester lied down on the ground saying, “OK, I am done,” according to the complaint.
Lester allegedly admitted to driving the vehicle and being high. A search found a white crystal substance in a little baggie in Lester’s front shorts pocket, which Lester allegedly said was crystal meth. The baggie of meth weighed 0.8 grams.
Lester was arrested for fleeing from an officer, a felony; tampering with a motor vehicle, a misdemeanor; possession of controlled substance, meth, a misdemeanor; DUI — narcotic amphetamine, a misdemeanor; and fleeing from an officer no vehicle, a misdemeanor.
Magistrate Kay Hurst set bond at $70,000.
If convicted, Lester faces one to five years in prison and a $1,000 to $2,000 fine for fleeing from an officer in a vehicle with reckless disregard; up to six months in jail and/or a fine of not more than $500 for tampering with a motor vehicle; 90 days to six months in jail and/or a fine of not more than $1,000 for possession of a controlled substance; up to six months in jail and a fine of $100 to $500 for DUI — narcotic amphetamine; and a $50 to $500 fine and/or confinement in jail up to one year for fleeing from an officer no vehicle.
Gregory said that Posey, the investigating officer for the stolen Chevy Impala report, was in discussions with the prosecuting attorney’s office, so more charges could be coming.
Lester was also allegedly involved in an incident earlier in June. On June 13, he opened the door of a 2015 Jeep while it was parked in City Lot 3 on Spring Street, according to the criminal complaint. A woman was inside eating lunch, but the car had a dark window tent and Lester could not see her sitting in the vehicle, according to the victim’s statement.
The woman told police that Lester was startled when he saw her and said, “Oops, wrong car.” She said she asked Lester what he was doing, and he said he was checking the vehicles in the lot for security reasons. She told him to get out, and he left.