Kanawha Head man arrested for allegedly leading police on tri-county chase in June

BUCKHANNON – An Upshur County man was arrested Friday for allegedly leading police on a tri-county chase in June that ended in Braxton County.

Ervin Hinkle, 35, of Kanawha Head, was arrested for fleeing from an officer with reckless indifference, a felony, Friday, Sept. 13.

According to the criminal complaint in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s office filed by investigating officer Deputy W.T. Chidester with the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department, the offense allegedly occurred June 22, 2019, when Chidester was patrolling southern Upshur County.

While he was traveling along the Frenchton Road, Chidester met a white extended cab Dodge Ram traveling in the opposite direction. As the vehicles passed one another, Chidester noted both he and the driver of the Dodge Ram had to slow down to avoid colliding, according to the file.

It was at that point Chidester recognized the driver, Hinkle, and a female passenger and recalled that Hinkle’s driver’s license was suspended. Chidester noted he was familiar with both Hinkle and the passenger as a result of several past encounters, the file says.

When Chidester turned around, the white Dodge Ram reportedly sped up, so Chidester got behind the vehicle and activated his emergency lights and siren. However, Hinkle allegedly failed to stop, according to the file.

While Chidester was pursuing Hinkle, Hinkle allegedly ran a stop sign when turning onto Route 4 South toward Lewis County.

“I did continue to pursue the vehicle down Route 4 at speeds greater than 105 mph,” Chidester wrote in the complaint. He also noted Hinkle allegedly passed a truck on a road with a double yellow line and made several blind turns in the opposite lane.

Chidester continued to pursue Hinkle until the vehicle crossed into Braxton County, at which point the deputy called off the pursuit because he felt it had become a public safety risk.

Magistrate Mike Coffman issued a warrant for Hinkle’s arrest June 24, 2019, and he was arrested Friday.
Coffman set bond at $25,000 cash only.

The penalty for fleeing from an officer with reckless indifference is a fine between $1,000 and $2,000, imprisonment in the state penitentiary for a term of one to five years or both.

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