By Drew Moody
Special to the Hur Herald
An approximately 30-mile high speed police chase beginning north of
Burnsville on I-79 ended
on Sun Rise Hill in the Tanner area early Saturday evening when the
driver lost control of his car
and crashed into a hillside.
Speeds of over 90 mph were reached on West
Virginia Highway 5
TFC M.S. Clark of the WV State Police Interstate Patrol clocked the
vehicle at 96 mph near the 82
mile marker and attempted to pull over the driver. Clark radioed for
assistance when the suspect refused
The pursuit included traveling down the entire length of Main Street in
driver, Richard Earl Mitchell, Jr., age 36, of Huntington, TN, lost
control of his vehicle at the intersections of
Main and Powell Streets. He plowed through two yards before narrowly
missing a parking meter and
utility pole re-entering the street.
Sara Aviles, eight year old daughter of Felix and Nancy Aviles of 305
E. Main Street, was so
startled - standing just a few feet away on her porch - fell on the
front steps of her home. Her bike,
parked nearby, was almost run over.
Many neighborhood children often
come to the Aviles' and
play in the front yard area. The Aviles' have six children at home
ranging in age from seven to 18
"It just so happened the kids weren't out there playing or they'd be
gone," commented neighbor
Dennis Stanton, a senior at Glenville State College.
Mitchell's car traveled approximately 18-feet off the roadway while
careening out of control in
downtown Glenville leaving a path about 105-feet long through Joe and
Carol Putnam's yard
and the Aviles'.
"It was scary," Nancy Aviles said Monday. Sara ran into the home and
told her mother she
almost got hit by a car.
Betty Hewitt, who resides across the street from the incident, was
trimming flowers and saw the
entire event. "It's always a busy street. We were just lucky," she said.
Gilmer County Sheriff's Deputy Casey Jones joined in the chase and was
almost hit head-on
Jones avoided the collision without any damage to his
patrol car. Gilmer County
Sheriff Mickey Metz and Sr.Trooper R.P. Smith also joined the pursuit.
Metz indicated he believed officers thought drugs were involved as
Mitchell and his passenger
were apparently throwing items out the windows of the car.
Clark and Lt.
Sam Cutlip of the Glenville
Police Department searched a ditch line near the wreck and discovered a
smoking device wrapped in
A small amount of powdered substance, field tested and
determined to be methamphetamines
was also confiscated, according to information released my the Gilmer
County Sheriff's Department.
Richard Earl Mitchell and his passenger Emily Ann Coffman, age 31, of
Dresden, TN were both taken
into custody and are being held in the Central Regional Jail.
Charges include: reckless driving, fleeing from a police officer,
assault on a police officer,
destruction of property, passing in a no passing zone and failure to
stop. Bond has been set at $15,000
and a hearing date has yet to be determined.
As of Monday afternoon, no drug charges had been filed against the pair.