Police: Car went airborne during chase


BUCKHANNON   A Volga man is facing charges after allegedly fleeing from a Buckhannon police officer Saturday night.

Ernest Payne, 65, was driving a Chevy Silverado north on Route 20 near Burger King and Sheetz when he was clocked going
41 mph in a 25 mph and Patrolman First Class Marshall O’Connor turned around to stop him near Sheetz, according to chief Matt Gregory. 

“Once [O’Connor] turned around and turned his blue lights on,” Gregory said, “the vehicle first stopped in the middle of Buckhannon Crossroads intersection, and then as Marshall got behind the vehicle, proceeded through the red light at the intersection,” Gregory said. “It started to stop at the Route 20 and Route 33 overpass, but then rapidly sped off, continuing north. As it sped up, it ran off the road several times on the right side.

“At one point, he went completely airborne,” Gregory continued. “The defendant struggled to keep the vehicle in the proper lane and continued to utilize both the northbound and southbound lanes while traveling north.”

The vehicle veered to the left at Carper Road, crossing the left lane and crashing through a street sign, stop sign and bus shed and then traveling a large distance through brush and trees before coming to a stop, according to Gregory.

After being extricated from the vehicle, Payne was taken by Upshur County EMS to the Upshur County Regional Airport, where he was flown by HealthNet.

The incident happened about 11:55 p.m. Saturday night.

Payne faces fleeing while DUI, according to Gregory.

In other crime news:

* A Belington man who was reportedly passed out at Sheetz’ gas pumps Friday afternoon was arrested for driving revoked for DUI third offense, a felony.

Jonathon Andrew Swiger, 29, was sitting passed out in a black Honda Civic at the gas pumps when Sgt. William Courtney and Patrolman Joseph Barcus responded shortly after 1 p.m., according to the criminal complaint in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s office.

Courtney noticed pills sitting in the center console and a search of Swiger’s record found three prior DUI driving revoked charges in 2006, 2007 and 2010.

Magistrate Mike Coffman set bond at $25,000.

If convicted, Swiger faces confinement in the penitentiary for not less than one nor more than three years and fined $3,000 to $5,000.

*A man who allegedly passed out in the McDonald’s parking lot over the weekend has been arrested for two misdemeanors.

Russell Carl Bumgardner II, 38, of Volga, was discovered passed out in the driver’s seat of a Chevy Blazer with the vehicle still running by Patrolman First Class Joshua Wilson, who responded to a welfare concern Saturday, according to the criminal complaint from the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s office.

Wilson knocked on the window but received no response from Bumgardner. After opening the driver side door, Wilson was able to rouse the man by touching him with his flashlight. Bumgardner woke up briefly before passing out again. Wilson allegedly discovered a case of beer in the back seat and two opened beer cans in the passenger side floorboard, according to the complaint.

Bumgardner was found to have bloodshot, glassy eyes, slurred speech and was very disoriented.

He allegedly admitted to having consumed alcohol and then drove from the Kanawha Lounge to
McDonalds. After starting one of the field sobriety tests, Bumgardner then refused to finish and refused the
rest of the tests. He was arrested for DUI second offense after a prior conviction was found in Barbour County in October 2011.

After being taken to Tygart Valley Regional Jail, Bumgardner was searched and .4 grams of a white crystal substance that tested positive for meth was found in his pocket. Bumgardner also faces a second charge of possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine.

Coffman set bond at $25,000.

If convicted, Bumgardner faces confinement in jail for six months to one year and the court may impose a $1,000 to $3,000 fine for DUI second offense.

Possession of a controlled substance carries confinement in jail for not less than 90 days nor more than six months and/or a fine of not more than $1,000.

* Raven Scott-Wamsley, 29, of Buckhannon, was arrested for a trespassing warrant and possession of a controlled substance.

On Dec. 16, Sgt. T.A. Posey and Barcus responded to an altercation/stolen property complaint at Cook’s. The officers stopped Wamsley and arrested her on an active trespassing warrant. The stolen property was located along with a bottle containing Clonazepam inside the defendant’s backpack, according to the criminal complaint. The prescription was not in Wamsley’s name.

Coffman set bond at $20,000. If convicted, Wamsley faces a $100 to $500 fine or confinement in jail not to exceed six months or both, for trespassing.

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