PRESTON MAN CHARGED - A Preston County man is facing drug and gun charges in Kingwood after leading sheriff’s deputies on a pursuit which ended near Camp Dawson.

On April 9, a lieutenant with the Preston County Sheriff’s Department noticed a red Honda ATV with a broken taillight and rider with no helmet, driving down Blazer Road in Kingwood, according to a criminal complaint.

When officers attempted to get behind the ATV, the vehicle’s driver, identified later as Billy Joe Nelder, 35, of Kingwood, sped up and “rapidly turned” onto Atlantic Road, at which point deputies activated their cruiser’s emergency lights and siren, they said.

The pursuit continued onto Pringle Road, with the ATV reaching speeds of 40 miles per hour as it “jumped large potholes and slid around curves recklessly” as Nelder traveled toward Camp Dawson, according to the complaint.

At the Camp Dawson gate, Nelder “veered a sharp right and jumped into a dirt mound,” where his ATV landed upside down in the nearby creek, officers said, and Nelder swam through the dark using officers’ verbal commands as guidance.

When Nelder reached the bank, his jacket caught in the dirt and raised to reveal a concealed firearm, according to the complaint, which officers later found to be a Hi-point 9mm pistol with seven rounds loaded in the magazine and one in the chamber.

Officers were able to identify Nelder based off of previous arrests, including a charge from October 2019 where he was found with a mobile methamphetamine lab, officers said.

When officers searched Nelder, they found him to be in possession of three separate bags of methamphetamine weighing 2.8, .5 and 3.4 grams each; a vial with approximately one gram of methamphetamine inside; a bag with three SIM cards and an SD card; a set of scales; three unused pipes used for smoking methamphetamine; a container with six 9mm rounds; a holster containing three throwing knives; and a concealed “switch blade” knife, according to the complaint.

Nelder is charged with being a prohibited person with a firearm and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance. He is being held in Tygart Valley Regional Jail on $100,000 bond.