BUCKHANNON – A Buckhannon man was arrested for five charges Friday afternoon, May 10, after he allegedly carjacked a woman in the Go-Mart parking lot while fleeing from police.
Buckhannon police chief Matt Gregory confirmed Monday that Zachary James Crawford, 25, was arrested in connection to the carjacking.
Police arrested Crawford on four charges related to Friday’s incident and on a child abuse charge tied to an event that allegedly occurred in December 2018.
Crawford, who remained in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail Monday on a $225,000 bond, has been charged with grand larceny, a felony; second-offense domestic battery, a misdemeanor; fleeing on foot from a police officer, a misdemeanor; robbery, a felony; and child abuse resulting in injury, a felony.
Gregory said Friday’s incident began as a domestic altercation between Crawford and a female victim at a residence on Ambrose Street.
“It started as a domestic on Ambrose Street, off of Reger Street,” Gregory said. “Patrolman Angel McCauley and Patrolman Collin Cope responded to the domestic, but when they tried to apprehend [Crawford], he fled to Go-Mart, where he removed a female subject – forcibly removed a female subject – from her vehicle by grabbing her and then fled the area in the vehicle.”
According to the complaints filed by McCauley in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s Office, the Upshur County E911 Communication Center had informed officers that the person who’d called in about the domestic had allegedly witnessed Crawford “slam [the female victim] on a car.”
When officers arrived on scene and attempted to apprehend Crawford, he fled on foot through several backyards until he arrived at Go-Mart, where he “forcefully pulled Julie Hudson from her vehicle, a 2001 Ford Escape, and left Go-Mart in an attempt to elude law enforcement,” the file says.
Gregory said Crawford knew Hudson.
Hudson feared for her safety and wasn’t sure what Crawford “was going to do to her,” according to the file.
The vehicle was worth approximately $5,500 and the incident was recorded by Go-Mart’s security cameras, McCauley notes.
According to Gregory, Crawford fled the immediate area in the Ford Escape, abandoning it at Subway. The police chief said Crawford was apprehended after officers received a tip concerning his whereabouts.
“We got a tip that he was taken [from Subway] to a trailer behind Liggett Addition on Tyler Lane, and once we got the tip, we responded, as did the sheriff’s department,” Gregory said. “We surrounded the trailer and made contact with him (Crawford), where he was hiding inside.”
Law enforcement arrested Crawford at that point.
Gregory explained carjacking falls under the umbrella of robbery.
“Carjacking is a version of robbery that involves forcible taking of a vehicle,” he said Monday.
According to the file, the female victim involved in the domestic with Crawford on Ambrose Street allegedly told police she’d been hiding from him at a residence in that neighborhood.
Once apprehended, Crawford was charged with a fifth crime – child abuse resulting in injury – stemming from a separate incident that allegedly occurred Dec. 12, 2018. According to the file, Magistrate Kay Hurst had issued a warrant for Crawford’s arrest the same day after Buckhannon police officers received information that a domestic incident had taken place at a residence on Cleveland Avenue.
That complaint was filed by investigating officer Patrolman Tanner Collins, who responded to the scene of the domestic on Dec. 12, 2018 and spoke to Crawford’s 13-year-old stepson.
The juvenile reportedly told Collins that Crawford had put him in a headlock and proceeded to punch him about four times in addition to attempting to knee him in the face, the complaint states. Collins found multiple red marks on the youth’s shoulder blade area of his back, in addition to another red mark with skin rubbed off “around his right trapezius muscle,” the report states.
The file says Crawford had been convicted of domestic battery Oct. 16, 2018.
Magistrate Mike Coffman set bond at $225,000 cash or surety and ordered Crawford to have no direct or indirect physical or verbal contact with Hudson or the female victim.
If convicted of grand larceny, Crawford faces a penalty of confinement in the penitentiary for one to 10 years or an alternative penalty of confinement in jail for up to one year and a fine of up to $2,500.
If convicted of robbery, Crawford could face a sentence of five to 18 years of imprisonment in the state penitentiary.
The penalty for a conviction of fleeing from an officer on foot is a fine ranging from $50 to $500, confinement in jail for up to one year, or both.
If convicted of domestic battery, second offense, Crawford faces a penalty of imprisonment for a term of not less than 60 days but not more than one year, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
The penalty for a conviction of child abuse resulting in risk of injury is confinement
in prison for one to five years, a fine ranging from $100 to $1,000, or both, or an alternative sentence of jail for up to one year.