Police: Wayne County man who allegedly posed as his brother led law enforcement on a high speed chase in a stolen vehicle

BUCKHANNON – A man from Wayne County who allegedly lied to police about his identity by posing as his brother was arrested on eight charges in Upshur County last week.

Christopher A. Linville, 27, of Wayne, West Virginia, was arrested Thursday, May 27 in connection to an incident that allegedly occurred Friday, May 21. According to the file in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s office and the regional jail website, he was arrested for fleeing in a vehicle, a felony; grand larceny, a felony; attempted identity theft, a felony; possession of stolen good/vehicle, a felony; taking identity of another, a felony; destruction of property, a misdemeanor; fleeing, a misdemeanor; and driving on a suspended license, a misdemeanor.

According to the criminal complaint filed by investigating officer Deputy Dakota Linger with the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office, on May 21, Linger was on traffic patrol on Vicksburg Road when he saw a male driving a dark blue Chevy Cobalt without a seatbelt at about 4 p.m.

When Linger pulled the vehicle over, the driver, later identified as Linville, allegedly gave the deputy his brother’s name and date of birth. Linger then asked the E911 Upshur County Comm Center to run the name Linville had provided through their system and Linger reportedly discovered the driver had a capias out of Kanawha County, the file says.

When officers told Linville he had an active capias, Linville reportedly became “distraught” and told the passenger to get out of the car and “get the paperwork out of the trunk” to show law enforcement officers that the capias had “already [been] taken care of,” the police report says. According to the file, as soon as the passenger got out of the car, Linville allegedly put the car in drive and took off. Linger ran back to his car and began to pursue Linville.

Linville allegedly fled at a high rate of speed across a grassy area, turned back onto Vicksburg Road, headed south and ran multiple cars off the road, crossing the center line and veering completely into the opposite lane. Linville allegedly continued straight on from Vicksburg Road to Little Sand Run, where he allegedly destroyed some shrubs and an outside air conditioner unit, the file says.

Linville also allegedly ran a stop sign on Little Sand Run and continued traveling at a high rate of speed onto the Phillips Dairy Road while almost sideswiping multiple cars. Eventually, the vehicle went into a ditch and spun around, causing a large cloud of dusty to form, the file says. Linger stopped and ran into the dust cloud, at which point he reportedly saw the vehicle coasting backwards down an embankment toward a house and causing damage to some shrubs. Linger did not see Linville in the vehicle at that time.

According to the report, Linville fled on foot, and sheriff’s deputies called in a K-9 unit out of Randolph County to assist in tracking him; however, the K-9 was unable to find a scent trail. Linger later found out the vehicle Linville had been driving was stolen from Lewis County.

The next day, Saturday, May 22, Linger went to the residence of two of Linville’s relatives to find out more information. The relative told Linger that Linville had lied about his identity by giving police his brother’s name and birth date.

As of Tuesday, Linville remained in the South Central Regional Jail on a $10,000 cash-only bond set by Upshur County Magistrate Mark Davis.

The penalty for attempted identity theft is up to three years in the state penitentiary, while taking the ID of another is up to five years. Regarding the other felony charges, if convicted, Linville faces a fine of up to $2,000, up to five years in prison or both on the fleeing in a vehicle charge; up to five years in the penitentiary on the possession of a stolen vehicle charge; and up to 10 years in prison on the grand larceny charge.

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