The driver of this Ford Taurus wrecked Saturday and was charged with DUI greater than .150 / Photo courtesy of the Ellamore Volunteer Fire Department

Alcohol consumption allegedly connected to two separate single-vehicle wrecks on Route 151 Saturday night

BUCKHANNON – Two separate single-vehicle wrecks related to alcohol consumption occurred Saturday evening on the same road – the Old Elkins Road/County Route 151.

Neither driver was injured in either accident, and neither had any other occupants in their vehicles at the time the crashes took place. However, both drivers were cited or arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.

According to the criminal complaint in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s office filed by investigating officer Senior Trooper P.J. Robinette, Richard Wayne Pumphrey III, 38, of Buckhannon was arrested for DUI with a blood alcohol content greater than .150, first-offense driving revoked for DUI and obstructing an officer, all misdemeanors.

Robinette’s report states he and Trooper J.S. Tonkin were dispatched to the scene of an accident near 51 Blue Moon Lane off Route 151 Saturday. Upon arriving, the officers saw a 2015 white Ford Taurus with heavy front-end damage “situated on a creek bank” south of Route 151, the complaint says.

According to the file, Pumphrey was allegedly sitting in the driver’s seat with the door open holding “a full open can of Miller High Life beer,” Robinette wrote.

Pumphrey allegedly told Robinette he’d had “a couple” drinks prior to the wreck, and the officer noticed that he had a “raspy” voice, slurred speech and bloodshot, watery eyes, the file says.

Robinette asked him to set the beer down and exit the vehicle; however, Pumphrey allegedly told the officer that he “did not have to.”

Robinette then grabbed his left arm “in an attempt to remove him from the vehicle.”

“The accused then pulled away from [me] and attempted to drink the beer in his right hand,” Robinette wrote in the report.

After Pumphrey failed to comply with several additional verbal commands to get out of the vehicle, Tonkin helped Robinette physically remove Pumphrey from the Ford Taurus, the file says.

Robinette then administered several standard field sobriety tests as well as a preliminary breath test, all of which returned results indicative of impairment, Robinette wrote in the complaint.

Pumphrey was arrested for obstructing, and once transported to the Upshur County Courthouse, Robinette administered an intoximeter test which showed a blood alcohol content of 0.155.

The E911 Upshur County Communication Center informed Robinette that Pumphrey had an active DUI conviction dated Sept. 6, 2016, according to the report, so the officer arrested him for driving with DUI revoked, first offense and DUI greater than .150 – in addition to the obstructing charge.

Magistrate Mike Coffman set bail at $20,000, and Pumphrey is free on bond.

The penalty for a conviction of obstructing an officer is confinement in jail for up to one year, a fine ranging between $50 to $500 or both. If found guilty of DUI with BAC greater then .150, Pumphrey faces confinement in jail for not less than two days (or 24 hours) and not more than six months and a fine between $200 to $1,000.

The penalty for first-offense driving revoked for DUI is imprisonment in jail for not less than 30 days and not more than six months and a fine ranging between $100 and $500.

In a separate, unrelated single-vehicle wreck that also occurred Saturday, May 25, Jeremiah Johnson, 22, of Norton, was cited for driving while intoxicated and failure to maintain control of his vehicle.

The driver of this Chevrolet pick-up was cited for driving while under the influence and failure to maintain control of his vehicle Saturday night. / Photo courtesy of the Ellamore Volunteer Fire Department

According to the accident report filed by Deputy Tyler Gordon with the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department, Johnson was driving a 2017 white Chevrolet pick-up truck westbound on Route 151/the Old Elkins Road when he lost control and veered off the road, striking a utility pole.

When Gordon arrived on scene, he noticed Johnson had watery eyes and slow, slurred speech as well as the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his mouth, the report states. Gordon wrote that Johnson appeared “very confused and disoriented” and showed “multiple signs of impairment” during standard field sobriety tests.

An intoximeter test later returned a blood alcohol content result of 0.140, the accident report states.

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